WP won't change line-up in Aljunied: Sylvia Lim

The WP's Aljunied GRC team - (from left) party chief Low Thia Khiang, Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, party chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Pritam Singh - taking a picture with stallholders during a walkabout at Kovan Hougang Market and F
The WP's Aljunied GRC team - (from left) party chief Low Thia Khiang, Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, party chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Pritam Singh - taking a picture with stallholders during a walkabout at Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre in April 2011. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

New PAP slate 'won't be easy to beat', but WP vows to stand by plans to serve residents who have supported and encouraged the party

The Workers' Party (WP) will stick to the plan and keep its Aljunied team intact for the Sept 11 polls, said party chairman Sylvia Lim, after the People's Action Party (PAP) unveiled its team yesterday.

Ms Lim also said that her team would work hard to defend its turf against the ruling party, which she described as "always a formidable opponent".

In an interview with The Straits Times yesterday, she said that her team "owes a debt to the Aljunied GRC residents" who have stood by them in the past few years.

"We've been through a lot in the last couple of years, and I've been very inspired by the support of the residents... who come forward to give us encouragement even when we are under intense scrutiny or attack by the PAP or others," she said at her apartment in Toh Tuck Road.

"We want to remain with them and to contest these coming elections to seek their mandate for the next time.''

She added: "We will not change (our plans) because the PAP has unveiled a different team."

Yesterday, the PAP introduced its own team, which will be led by four-term MP Yeo Guat Kwang.

The 54-year-old was moved out of Ang Mo Kio GRC, but moving into Aljunied GRC is a return to familiar ground for Mr Yeo. He was an MP there from 2001 to 2011.

The other four members in his team are all the party's Aljunied branch chairmen and first-time candidates: Mr Victor Lye, 52, in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol; Mr K. Muralidharan Pillai, 47, in Paya Lebar; Mr Chua Eng Leong, 44, in Eunos; and Mr Shamsul Kamar, 43, in Kaki Bukit.

Introducing them yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said: "I think this team has a fighting chance. They really want to prove their worth and serve residents better."

At a separate press conference, where the WP introduced its third batch of candidates, Ms Lim acknowledged that the PAP would not be easy to beat.

She said: "The PAP is always a formidable opponent. They are the ruling party, with a huge party machinery and grassroots network."

Apart from Ms Lim, the WP's Aljunied slate is made up of party chief Low Thia Khiang, 58, Mr Chen Show Mao, 54; Mr Pritam Singh, 39; and Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, 40.

Ms Lim, who is chairman of her party's town council, was asked by reporters about the state of cleanliness at her GRC.

The question arose because former Cabinet minister and PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng had said yesterday that some Aljunied residents had told the PAP team that they wanted a change as the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Puggol East Town Council had not properly cleaned or maintained the estates.

In her reply, Ms Lim said that her town council got the same performance band as many other town councils in the Ministry of National Development's annual review of the performance of all town councils.

She also invited the residents of constituencies that her party would be contesting in the elections to visit Aljunied GRC and judge for themselves.

She had also told The Straits Times that she hoped residents would give her party the mandate to run the town council for another term.

She said: "I don't think we've let the residents down."

All five MPs of Aljunied GRC and the two others elected for Hougang and Punggol East SMCs had said they would defend their seats.

The line-up is final only on Nomination Day, which falls on Sept 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'WP won't change line-up in Aljunied: Sylvia Lim'. Print Edition | Subscribe