The candidates: Workers' Party

Not a question of fear but confidence

Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang speaking at the first Workers' Party press conference for General Election 2015.
Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang speaking at the first Workers' Party press conference for General Election 2015.PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang on fear among voters

Q You said earlier that people are fearful of the Government, so you want to empower them and tell them they can check on the Government.

But in the 2011 GE, the WP did better than in 2006. Since then, more high-calibre people are joining the WP and other opposition parties.

Tell us where is this fear? Are you playing up the fear factor?

A No, I'm not playing up the fear factor...What I'm saying is that you have to empower yourself. Of course, there are a few spectrum in society with people who worry whether there will be repercussions from the political leaders.

The question is why are people having to worry in the first place? I think the environment should not be (like this); perhaps the legacy of the past may have contributed to this.

So as we look back at the last 50 years and move forward to the future, we may want to think about whether this is going to be something curtailing our thoughts.

More importantly, we need to build a confident people, confident that what I'm doing...is right for Singapore rather than looking up to the Government and taking the cue from (it).

Q So you are saying that after 50 years of nation-building and the 2011 GE, the fear factor has not ebbed? And that we are still not a confident people?

A No, it is not a question of the fear factor. It's a question of confidently moving forward as a people, not so much the fear of whether you will be arrested.

It's not that kind of fear but it's psychological baggage we have inherited from the past which we have to put (away) and move on.

Empowerment is a process in which people feel they are the masters of the land. That is fundamental for a mature nation to move forward and continue to thrive.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Not a question of fear but confidence'. Print Edition | Subscribe