Pritam Singh denies wanting to form Government, but past statements suggest otherwise.

form Government

In a Facebook post this week, Workers’ Party (WP) leader Pritam Singh has denied that his party is looking to form the Government. He took issue with political analyst Gillian Koh’s commentary in the Straits Times on April 17 which said the Workers’ Party  “ will tilt towards a strategy of forming the Government at the next General Election”. “This is false,’’ said Mr Singh in his post which prompted a correction in the newspaper the following day.

However, a look at the news archives suggests a different story. At a rally during the 2015 General Elections, WP chairman Sylvia Lim spoke at length about the party’s plans should it form the next Government. Bearing in mind Ms Lim was speaking to voters at a General Election, the speech was widely covered by the media.

0de5e95f 5130 4db0 973f b44518655d11

Dwelling extensively on how a hypothetical WP Government would do things differently from the PAP, Ms Lim said the WP Government would not hesitate to do away with GRCs. According to Ms Lim, while the scheme was introduced to ensure minority representation in Parliament, it is “being used to bring in candidates into Parliament under the protection of a minister”. In addition, Ms Lim also said that the WP would do away with NMPs since they are not elected by the people but selected by a committee dominated by the PAP. “If WP ever comes into power, we would abolish both schemes even though they would favour us,” she told voters. Finally, she added that a WP government would not “infiltrate every aspect of life” by placing its officials in sports, the arts, and professional groups.

Going further back to 2011, the WP had also spoken openly about its aspirations as a government-in-waiting. Mr Pritam Singh, then a newly elected MP for WP and now its party leader, even alluded to the possibility of a coalition Government. A TODAY newspaper headline confirmed the plans as such. “Workers’ Party working towards becoming Government: Pritam”, quoted Mr Singh as saying that the party is working towards forming the next Government. Mr Singh said: “So, is that something we are working toward? Well, I think the short answer is yes.’’In the same political forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies where he made those comments, Mr Singh continued to explore the idea of PAP losing the majority and forming a coalition Government with the WP.

With all that said on record, it is interesting that the WP felt compelled then to clarify that being part of a coalition government is not one of its aims. However, “it is prepared to work with other political parties in the interests of Singaporeans’’. The backpedalling appears to suggest that the WP would prefer to form a Government on its own. And it would only consider a coalition partner when invited by others. Once again, Singaporeans are left confused over what exactly the WP are after. Perhaps even their leaders are none the wiser over what sort of party they want to be.


On Key

Related Posts