SINGAPORE - The former chief of the Workers' Party (WP), Mr Low Thia Khiang, will not be standing for election in Friday's polls, but voters on Wednesday (July 8) still got to hear him delivering a speech in Teochew - a trademark for the party stalwart.
"Every general election since 1991, I would speak in Teochew at Hougang rallies," he said in a video message posted on the party's social media channels a day before Cooling-off Day, when no campaigning is allowed.
"This GE, I did not have a chance to do so as rallies are not allowed," he said, adding that it was a pity that the general election was called during the coronavirus pandemic.
Physical rallies have, for the first time, been banned to limit the spread of Covid-19.
In the video, Mr Low, who also delivered a speech in Mandarin, detailed his history in Parliament and thanked voters for their support over the years.
The Chinese-educated politician recalled the difficulties he faced initially, when "people doubted my ability to represent the voters, as government correspondence and parliamentary debates were carried out in the English language".
"Despite the attacks and ridicule against me, I persisted in voicing out, because this is my conviction."
He asked for their continued support for the WP, even though he was not contesting this election, saying the party would continue working hard for residents.
"We cannot allow the PAP to implement policies at their sole discretion, increase the charges as and when they like," said Mr Low, 63.
He said his decision not to run for election was an important milestone in the party's renewal plan.
"Protecting the fairness and equality of society requires continuous effort and cannot be achieved by one person," he added.
Mr Low is the longest-serving opposition MP in Singapore.
He entered politics in 1988, and stood for election as a WP candidate in Tiong Bahru GRC but did not win. In 1991, he won the Hougang single-member constituency, and has been an MP since.
Mr Low is credited with being the first opposition leader to win a group representation constituency after he led the WP team to victory in Aljunied GRC in 2011.
In 2018, he handed the reins of the party to Aljunied GRC MP Pritam Singh.
"Having witnessed Pritam's leadership, I am assured that he will bring the younger generation forward," said Mr Low.
He also told residents that even though he was not standing for election, he was not retiring.
"I will continue to serve the people by imparting knowledge, sharing my experience with the younger generation," Mr Low said, adding that he will continue walking the ground with the party, and help groom politicians who can debate effectively in Parliament.
The WP is fielding a total of 21 candidates for Friday's polls.
It is defending Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, and contesting East Coast, Sengkang and Marine Parade GRCs, as well as Punggol West SMC.
Mr Low, who was recently discharged from the intensive care unit of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after injuring his head in a fall on April 30, has continued walking the ground during the hustings.
On Wednesday morning, he was seen lending his support to the WP's Aljunied team, who were giving out fliers at Hougang MRT station.