Low confident WP will still get support

Workers' Party chief says people will still feel need for checks and balances after his term

Workers' Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang said last 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 will not think "there is no need for checks and balances 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, taking over from Mr J. B. Jeyaretnam.

Yesterday, Mr Low, 61, 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 (faced) turbulence, we (had) to stabilise it. Now I think we are sailing (well enough) for me to hand (it) over."

Some observers pointed out Mr Low was shrewd in wanting to step down, given his involvement in lawsuits over managing the finances 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Low confident WP will still get support'. Print Edition | Subscribe