Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang will not be contesting the post of secretary-general at the next party leadership election in 2018.
Speaking at a celebratory dinner for the opposition party’s 60th anniversary on Friday (3 November), Low said that he was doing so to enable the next generation of leaders to take over the party leadership completely. He noted that he had accomplished his two goals as WP chief: the renewal of the party and making electoral progress.
“We now have a team of younger leaders who are ready to drive the party forward, to continue this walk with Singapore. I shall therefore not be contesting the post of Secretary-General at the next party election.”
Low, whose eyes reddened as he spoke, added, “Remember that the WP is a vehicle for the voice of the people to be heard. This voice is getting complex and more diverse.”
The 61-year-old was addressing a crowd of some 1,200 people at a dinner at Ban Heng restaurant at Harbourfront Centre. His speech was preceded by those of fellow Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim, as well as Non-Constituency MPs Daniel Goh and Leon Perera.
There seemed to be an emotional edge to their words, while other party members dropped hints of a “big announcement” to come.
Low’s decision comes at a time when the WP is facing two lawsuits filed by an independent panel on behalf of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC). Low, Lim and Singh are being taken to court for alleged breach of fiduciary duties in relation to payments of up to $33.7 million to the town council’s former managing agent and service provider, FM Solutions and Services (FMSS).
At the last party elections in May 2016, Low was also challenged for the role of Secretary General by Chen Show Mao. Low beat his younger opponent by 61 votes to 45.
At the same event on Friday, the party also launched a commemorative book entitled “Walking With Singapore: The Workers’ Party’s 60th Anniversary”.