PA: We don't get involved in party politics

We don’t get involved in party politics.

Such was the People's Association's response to media queries about its decision to appoint veteran grassroots leader Anthony Loh, 73, to take over ex-minister George Yeo as an adviser to grassroots organisations in opposition-held Aljunied.

Loh, who has worked the ground in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol and Kampong Kembangan over the past 22 years, is currently honorary chairman of the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol Citizens' Consultative Committee.

Responding to queries, PA told Yahoo! Singapore that Loh was chosen "for his close familiarity with the community, built out of years of service as a grassroots leader. He is eminently suited to lead and guide the GROs in their role and to better serve the residents of Bedok Reservoir-Punggol."

When asked if Loh might be a potential PAP candidate in the future, PA said the issue "was not even a consideration in appointing Loh because PA does not get involved in party politics”.

The appointment, which was announced on Tuesday, is rare because Loh will be advising grassroots organizations in an opposition-held ward after the Workers' Party team led by Low Thia Kiang ousted George Yeo's People’s Action Party (PAP) team in the May elections last year.

In the past, grassroots advisers were either elected MPs or potential candidates from the ruling PAP who will be fielded in upcoming elections.

With Yeo stepping down, the remaining members of his Aljunied team -- Lim Hwee Hua, Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Cynthia Phua and Ong Ye Kung -- remain as grassroots advisers for Aljunied.

The Workers' Party have yet to comment on the appointment.

Last September, PA came under the media spotlight after a dinner invitation sent to Aljunied GRC MP Chen Show Mao from the Workers’ Party (WP) to attend a grassroots Hungry Ghosts’ Festival event by Aljunied residents was withdrawn.

He was told that approval of the event venue would be withdrawn by the PA is he was invited. After that incident, PA revised its policy and relaxed restrictions on event guest lists.