A GRC Seat or Nothing


Low Thia Khiang might be going to stand in a GRC. In particular, Moulmein-Kallang GRC which NSP is also coveting leading to an exciting 3-cornered fight that some think is disastrous for the opposition camp. Although others know that a 3-cornered fight is indeed better for democracy.

Low Thia Khing, Hougang MP since 1991 is finally breaking out of his comfort zone and taking the risk of expanding into a GRC. It is about time he did that as Hougang is a determined WP stronghold already and he has to expand and entrench WP’s political influence. Low Thia Khiang also mentioned that if has not re-elected, he is not going to take up a NCMP seat as consolation. That is a serious ultimatum and voters in the GRC he picks would be responsible for furthering or breaking the WP Secretary-General’s political career.

Low Thia Khiang: No NCMP seat for me
04:46 AM Mar 24, 2011
by Teo Xuanwei

As speculation mounts over whether Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang will lead a team to contest a GRC, he reiterated yesterday that should he be defeated at the polls, he will not take up a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) seat.

And he will resign if his party compels him to do so. Mr Low made the remarks in response to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Wong Kan Seng’s comments that the parliamentary system has made provisions to allow more Opposition voices in the House.

Speaking to reporters at his Meet-the-People session in Hougang, Mr Low said: “I have declared in Parliament that I will not take up NCMP should I not be elected … Should the party force me to take up an NCMP seat, I will resign. But I don’t think the party will do that, I think my central executive committee understands my position.”

Stopping short of saying whether such a scenario would mean he would bow out of politics, he reiterated that an NCMP role does not give “muscle and real grassroots grounding” to mount a serious challenge to the People’s Action Party.

Said Mr Low: “It’s just rootless … You don’t represent anyone, you don’t have a constituency to run.”

Whereas, with a constituency, an Opposition party can enlarge its influence and grow, he added.

Mr Low also described the NCMP system as “a reflection of the guilty conscience of the PAP”.

“The GRC system has allowed the PAP to gerrymander in a big way in the redrawing of boundaries process … perhaps the PAP feels that it is too much for Opposition to continue to survive,” said Mr Low, “And they have to reduce it and provide some token of mechanism which will allow the Opposition to survive and to continue to show that we are a democracy.”

Back in 2007, after the 2006 General Election, the WP had declared that its aim was to win a GRC in the coming elections.

When asked to respond to Mr Wong’s comments on the Opposition’s intentions in capturing a GRC, Mr Low side-stepped the issue – he would only say that it is still hypothetical as to whether he will spearhead a GRC challenge.

He said: “If I do, I will explain my reasons for doing so. So let’s tell DPM not to put the cart before the horse.”

Mr Wong also called on Opposition parties to unveil their candidates earlier so as not to shortchange voters.

Mr Low retorted: “Is the DPM proposing to run Opposition parties on our behalf?

He added: “I think each party has to decide what is the best approach, when we will introduce the candidates… not for the PAP to decide what we should do unless they want to propose to run the WP as well.”

He also countered that the PAP had itself short-changed Singaporeans by unveiling its new candidates so soon after the release of the electoral boundaries report.

“Singaporeans do not know whether or not their MPs will remain there, whether they will now become Ang Mo Kio GRC or remain in Aljunied,” he said, referring to the changes in areas surrounding his Hougang ward.

Teo Xuanwei
xuanwei@mediacorp.com.sg

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