SINGAPORE – The Workers’ Party (WP) has introduced its fourth batch of potential candidates for the Sept 11 general election, a day after it unveiled its 48-page manifesto titled "Empower Your Future".
WP chairman Sylvia Lim and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat announced their identities at the party’s Syed Alwi Road headquarters on Sunday (Aug 30) afternoon.
They are former associate librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36; Singapore Cancer Society manager Kenneth Foo, 38; shipping law firm partner Dennis Tan, 45; and lawyer Gurmit Singh, 55.
First to speak was Mr Tan, whose wife is also a member of the party. He is actively involved in producing the WP's newsletter, The Hammer, and started volunteering after the 2011 General Election.
Mr Tan said: "Like many Singaporeans, I was quite disturbed by the ruling party's policies, and it brought home a point that in the long run, a one-party system is untenable for Singapore.
"There should be better balance and a greater diversity in Parliament."
Mr Fairoz revealed that he had quit his job as an associate librarian, during which he wrote articles on Singapore's history for an online portal, in order to take part in the coming polls.
The party veteran, who joined the WP in 2004, said it was not an easy decision to choose between "serving the nation as a public servant and joining the WP".
"It was for my children that I made a decision. I asked myself what kind of Singapore do I want to give them - a Singapore with only one voice, or where alternate voices are heard?"
He intends to raise issues related to education and work-life harmony if elected.
Mr Foo, whose job in a voluntary welfare organisation gives him the opportunity to work with the less privileged, listed the chance to work with WP chief Low Thia Khiang as one of three reasons for joining politics.
"Late one night, Mr Low told me he needed to attend the wake of a constituent. I asked him why so late - he said it was his duty as their MP, and also because it's less crowded so he could talk to them and find out more," Mr Foo recounted.
The last new face, Mr Singh, said the party "resonated" with him and he had decided to join in 2013.
The causes he intends to champion includes the plight of low-wage workers and the challenges Singaporean professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) face with the influx of foreign workers.
The party had begun introducing its first crop of potential candidates on Aug 26. So far, 12 names have been revealed, including new faces like sociology professor Daniel Goh and corporate lawyer He Ting Ru.
It has not revealed where it will field these potential candidates.
The WP previously said it will field 28 candidates - up from 23 in 2011 - in five group representation constituencies (GRCs) and five single-member constituencies (SMCs).
The GRCs are Aljunied (five members), East Coast (four), Jalan Besar (four), Marine Parade (five) and Nee Soon (five), while the SMCs are Fengshan, Hougang, MacPherson, Punggol East and Sengkang West.
But it has confirmed that their incumbents in the WP-held constituencies of Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East will stay to defend their areas to repay the voters' faith.
The current Aljunied GRC MPs are secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, 58, Ms Lim,50; Mr Chen Show Mao, 54; Mr Pritam Singh,39; and Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, 40.
Mr Png, 53, is the WP MP for Hougang. Its Punggol East incumbent is Ms Lee Li Lian, 37.
On Saturday, Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam, accompanied by five younger members of the party, unveiled the WP's 48-page manifesto. It contains six chapters with more than 130 proposals, which focuses on issues like the Singaporean core, economic security and family and social welfare.
They also launched a new mobile app - the second party to do so after the People's Action Party.