This October has been the month of Workers’ Party.
Efforts to drum up support for Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh in the AHTC civil trial appeared to be in overdrive since Sep. There was plenty of actions. First, we were presented with stories of WP’s political journey in a series called #throwbackthursday, which culminated in the party’s town council struggles in mid Oct. In between, one could also follow the court case’s development from the personal blog of LTK, SL and PS, which was specially started for the trial. Then late Oct came the call to action – the trio had resorted to raising funds from the public to fight legal fees and potential bankruptcy.
If the mood was sombre, the trio’s definitely not showing it. Media coverage has been showing LTK, SL and PS walking in and out of the Supreme Court smiling. Even their blog’s cover photo looked like a happy get-together wefie. Who would have thought that three weeks into the trial, we would be suddenly told that the trio were financially drained, might be bankrupt and needed help. Was it something that only dawned on them after three weeks of trial? Or was the call for action carefully timed for the maximum publicity effect?
What’s the Plan B for Aljunied?
While WP and the trio have done a lot to engage the public, what many people are more interested in now, is whether WP has a Plan B for Aljunied GRC? If they are preparing for bankrupt, then what’s going to happen to Aljunied GRC? With a razor-thin winning margin in the last GE, WP can ill afford to field a weak team if they want to retain control of Aljunied GRC. It has sent its A team to Aljunied and now the A team is in trouble. So what’s next?
Signs are pointing that Png Eng Huat and Chen Show Mao are on their way out. Other than being a CEC member, Png has almost relinquished all his extra duties in the party and in AHTC; whereas Chen has under-delivered after so many years. Lee Li Lian has declined to take up an NCMP role after the last election, will she change her mind to run for an MP again? Gerald Giam was NCMP before too, but in recent years, seemed to be better placed performing party duties. If LTK, SL and PS are unable to contest, they would need stronger ammunition than them. Five names come to mind.
Problem is, filling in LTK’s big shoes is always not easy (just ask Pritam). Worse, now they have to fill in LTK + SL + PS’ combined big shoes. If there are town council problems that the A team are unable to solve, would this replacement team be able to get around them?
Muhamad Faisal = New WP Chairman?
Notably, one name stands out from the list of five – Muhamad Faisal.
Muhamad Faisal’s rise in WP has been nothing short of meteoric. He first entered politics in 2011, and at 35, created history with WP stalwarts LTK and SL in being the first opposition team to capture a GRC. In the WP CEC earlier this year, Muhamad Faisal received the joint most number of votes alongside LTK. A remarkable feat. In Sep, he was parachuted into the role of AHTC Chairman. The role, usually filled by the Vice Chair, was previously held by Pritam Singh. Muhamad Faisal was not a Vice Chair before his chairmanship appointment.
Will Muhamad Faisal be the next WP Chairman and the leading man for WP’s Aljunied GRC team? Would he be comfortable in the big shoes left behind by SL, LTK and PS?
Given that the WP only retained Aljunied GRC by a razor thin margin at the last GE, would PAP go in for the kill, and send in a heavy-weight, or maybe two, ministers to wrestle back the GRC at the next GE?
We shall see.