SINGAPORE - Workers' Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang said on Wednesday (Nov 8) night he is confident Singaporeans will continue to support the WP even after he steps down as party leader next year.
Speaking to reporters before his Meet-the-People session in Bedok Reservoir, Mr Low said he was sure people would support the WP's younger generation of leaders.
"Singapore has come thus far," he said, adding he was sure people won't just think "there is no need for a check and balance just because I am not around".
At the WP's 60th anniversary dinner last Friday, Mr Low announced that he would not be contesting the party's top post at its Central Executive Council election due next year. He has helmed WP since 2001, when he took over from Mr J.B. Jeyaretnam.
On Wednesday, Mr Low reiterated that he has accomplished the goals he set for himself - party renewal and electoral progress - and it was now time to "step aside for the younger generation of leaders to step up to the steering wheel to move the party forward".
Residents too could see the party's younger leaders in place and on the ground, he said.
And even though he had announced during the WP's 50th anniversary that he hoped to see a new secretary-general when the party turned 60, his announcement now was "not too far (off)".
He cited challenges after 2011, saying: "the ship was under turbulence, we have to stabilise it and now I think we are in good sailing for me to hand over".
Some observers have pointed out that Mr Low was making a shrewd political move in stepping down, given his involvement in lawsuits over the financial management of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
"They can say whatever they like, but the fact is that I know what I am doing, I've been doing what I set out to do, and I've reached a point where I've done what I could have done, and it's time for me to step aside," he said. He was tight-lipped on who would succeed him, saying the party would have to decide.
Asked if he would stand in the next general election, Mr Low, a veteran of seven electoral battles, said: "I think it's too early now, there is still some time to go, and things can change. This world is changing very fast."