Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang to contest in Aljunied GRC for coming election

Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang greet residents at Hougang and Punggol East constituency Hari Raya celebration held at Blk 188A Rivervale Drive, on Aug 1, 2015.
Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang greet residents at Hougang and Punggol East constituency Hari Raya celebration held at Blk 188A Rivervale Drive, on Aug 1, 2015.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang said on Wednesday he will stay on to contest in Aljunied GRC at the coming election.

He said he wanted to thank residents there for their support, which has led to the Singapore moving closer to the goal of having a "First World Parliament", a reference to his party's campaign tagline in the 2011 General Election.

He did not want to confirm if his fellow Members of Parliament - WP chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Chen Show Mao, Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap - would also stay on in the GRC.

Mr Low, who spoke to reporters before his Meet-the-People session, said: "I will not move. I appreciate very much the residents of Aljunied who have given us a chance to serve, who have responded to the call to move Singapore towards a First World Parliament."

He added that he was "happy" that the support of residents there for the WP has resulted in the Government becoming better and more responsive, and has lead to "many policy U-turns" that have benefited Singaporeans.

In the 2011 election, the WP moved Mr Low out of his Hougang ward to contest in Aljunied.

Last week, the WP said it has earmarked five GRCs and five single-seat wards as areas where it will contest.

On its list are the newly created Jalan Besar GRC and the single-seat wards of MacPherson and Fengshan, as well as Marine Parade GRC - which absorbed neighbouring Joo Chiat, where the WP narrowly lost to the People's Action Party (PAP) in 2011.

This sets the WP up on a collision course with the National Solidarity Party (NSP) that contested Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 polls.

Mr Low said on Wednesday that his party is committed to avoiding three-cornered fights as much as possible.

But he said the WP will not give up any of the constituencies that it has said it will contest.

On Monday, members of nine opposition parties met to discuss ways to avoid three-cornered fights. But the meeting failed to resolve clashes between some parties, including the WP and NSP. The parties will meet again on Thursday.

Mr Low said with Joo Chiat set to become part of Marine Parade GRC, the WP will have to contest there. He pointed out that in 2011, WP Non-constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong was fielded in Joo Chiat and lost by only 388 votes to the PAP's Charles Chong.

"That is a factor which we cannot ignore. Are we going to say 'sorry Joo Chiat residents, because you're being now drawn into Marine Parade, we back off'? We are serious party, we take the support of the voters seriously, we will go in. Yes, if this is what they want we will put up a fight and take the challenge."

The other areas the party will contest are Aljunied GRC and the Hougang and Punggol East single seats - now held by the WP - and its longstanding targets of East Coast and Nee Soon GRCs and the single seat of Sengkang West.