WP will continue to champion policy alternatives in new year, says Pritam Singh

Workers' Party secretary-general Pritam Singh speaks to the media on Dec 27, 2020. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - In his first New Year message since becoming the Leader of the Opposition, Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh pledged that his party will continue to champion robust policy alternatives that represent the needs of Singaporeans.

The WP will also continue in its moderate path so as to provide a trusted alternative to voters and act as a balancing force in Singapore's political system, he said on Thursday (Dec 31) in a message issued to the media.

Mr Singh was made Leader of the Opposition after his party won Aljunied and Sengkang group representation constituencies and single-seat Hougang at the July 10 general election held amid the pandemic - a first for any opposition party since independence.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in announcing the new role, had said the election results showed a desire for a diversity of voices in Parliament.

Thanking Singaporeans for their support, Mr Singh said in his message: "We also appreciate the support shown to the Workers' Party this GE2020, and alongside it, the weight of responsibility and hard work needed to earn your trust as we strive towards balanced and plural politics for Singapore."

He noted that in the last year, the WP had made suggestions on minimum wage, widening access to justice, and optimising Singapore's reserves, among other things.

WP MPs, members and volunteers have also engaged Singaporeans through dialogues and other activities and provided intervention and support to the less fortunate, he said, adding that the party would continue to support Singaporeans "to the fullest extent possible" with appeals, advice and aid.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted livelihoods and cast a shadow of fear and uncertainty over society, Mr Singh noted.

The new year "will not be a bed of roses", he said, especially as some sectors of the economy have still not recovered and some people have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts.

But he added that the circulation of Covid-19 vaccines is an encouraging development and a remarkable achievement for the world.

"It is also a keen reminder that Singapore must remain a responsible contributor to the global order, so as to benefit from it," he said.

Ending his message with a wish for success, good health and peace to Singaporeans, he said: "As we move into 2021, I want to salute the resilience and social unity shown by Singaporeans over the past year. We have weathered this storm, and I am proud to be a member of a united people that will continue to stand firm in the face of the storms that lie ahead of us."

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