WP has to transcend the lawsuits and regain public support: Pritam Singh

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The people’s perception of the Workers’ Party (WP) will be impacted because of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) lawsuit and the party must convince the public that the WP is a strong party with a stake in local politics.

This is according to WP Member of Parliament (MP) Pritam Singh who was interviewed by Lianhe Zaobao ahead of the party’s 60th anniversary. Singh shed light on the lawsuit his party is facing and spoke about leadership renewal in the interview which was published today.

Singh, an MP elected to serve Aljunied GRC, is one of the defendants in the AHTC lawsuit which he says will go to trial in the second half of 2018 at the “earliest.” The lawsuit was filed by an independent panel that was set up to investigate governance lapses and improper payments using public funds in the town council.

The independent panel was appointed by the town council, at the behest of Housing Development Board (HDB), in February 2017 after audit firm KPMG released a report last year that AHTC had put millions of dollars from public funds at risk of improper use due to governance lapses from 2011-2015. KPMG had flagged payments to the town council’s then-managing agent FM Solutions and Services (FMSS) as ‘improper’ since the owners of FMSS held key management and financial control positions in the town council at the same time.

The panel filed a lawsuit against Singh and his fellow Aljunied MPs Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, among others, and is seeking to claim a total of S$4,790,095.49 in court comprising S$622,593.78 in liquidated claims and S$4,167,501.71 in unliquidated claims.

In speaking with the Chinese daily, Singh said that the onus is on the party to prove the value it brings to local politics to Singaporeans:

“Public perception of WP will definitely be impacted…our party has to transcend the lawsuits and deliver a convincing message to the public, so that they can understand that there are grounds for WP to continue to have a stake in local politics. We need a strong opposition, a stronger opposition than what we have now.”

Singh added that the lawsuit has cast uncertainty over leadership renewal within the party. Singh is widely speculated to be the next party chief after he was named Assistant Secretary-General last June – this is particularly notable since the seat had been vacant for 10 years prior to that. He would be succeeding current party head Low Thia Khiang if he is named Secretary-General.

Some may even say that accepting an interview with a Chinese-language paper is perhaps demonstrative of Singh’s growing stature within the party. Singh said on the topic of internal leadership renewal:

“Over the years, some party members have proven that they have ability to take up leadership positions. Currently, the potential to take over the leadership of the party is not limited to one or two individuals, there’s actually a team that is capable of becoming the core of the next leadership team. This is a very healthy development, and I think we may be the only opposition party that treats leadership renewal with such seriousness.”

The WP will unveil its new headquarters next week, on 29 Sept, as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. It will also hold an 80-table dinner to thank its supporters for helping it reach such a significant milestone.

28 COMMENTS

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    Agree with Mr. Singh on his view that Singapore need a stronger opposition and may it be added that to be able to form the next alternate government ! For the good interest of Singapore and democracy , Work at it WP , you will get there !!! Majullah Singapura!!

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    Pritam, public perception of WP is high despite whatever lawsuits the rulers have worked up for your party. Be confident with yourself and for WP. The world is watching our rulers too and every single one of us knows WP as being the only worthy opposition left in Singapore. We the 30% will not chicken out on WP. Period.

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    Soon, MSM will sit on you heavy. To distract from hot issues Lee’s Debacle and Elected President. Problematic as it is, you must come away stronger. Handle wisely, Pritam.

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    pls sue back, the day wp took over there were unknown acct right? nothing much will happen since not the first lawsuit by the ruling, mostly are just distraction smoke screen from their latest hot issue like P.E. family feud, own TC corruption, MRT…..

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    Despicable pap regime indeed. This evil regime will be judged and thrown into eternal hellfire without relief, including the self professing christians therein who did not even lift a finger to right the wrongs.

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    As usual always false alarm from pap. After LKY gone, the best they can do is cheap shot at opposition party. No quality ministers and leader now a days. Time to make way for the up and coming opposition

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    In his humility, Mr Pritam Singh acknowledged that Singapore needs a stronger opposition.

    To this, I not only agree, but would like to add that Singapore needs a United opposition.

    Not that they must join together or agree on every point and every policy. But that they must stand united against the powerful machinery of the PAP. And that means not hurling insults or criticism against one another. The state media will have a field day in highlighting such contention and disunity amongst the opposition. And this works against Singaporeans who want to see more opposition MPs in Parliament, as they yearn for a more just and democratic Parliament.

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    Mr Pritam Singh acknowledged that Singapore needs a stronger opposition. Fully agree but exclude WP because this party squandered people’s money, in particular, Aljunied residents’ money. I still remember Judge Quentin Loh’s statement “if AHPETC was managing corporation subject to the Building Maintenance & Strata Management Act it will be exposed to criminal liability”. Indeed, this statement is proven correct now. Let’s dispense justice!

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    No one belief PAP’s narrative. Even their party sycophants quitely admit this is to fix opposition. People of Singapore must put an end to such a abusive govt. Will they? Only 30 to 35% can see through. Rest are either idiots or selfish gainers. They know this govt is abusive but they are benefitting so they wont do what is right. One day this country will sink n the rich will run. Those in the middle will get screwed.

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