Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/27/2013 19:09 | By Channel NewsAsia

By—election result can’t be taken as trend in future: Low Thia Khiang

By—election result can’t be taken as trend in future: Low Thia Khiang

By—election result can’t be taken as trend in future: Low Thia Khiang

SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party’s (WP) secretary—general Mr Low Thia Khiang said the results of the Punggol East by—election should not be seen as a trend for the future.

He highlighted this, as his party thanked supporters in a victory parade on Sunday morning after Member of Parliament—elect for Punggol East Ms Lee Li Lian won the seat for Punggol East.

Ms Lee said her immediate priorities are the town council and meet—the—people sessions (MPS) in the ward. She also shared that volunteers from the single—member ward of Hougang and the group representation constituency of Aljunied, which are held by WP, will help out during the transition period.

Another immediate priority is the handover of the town council from the ruling People’s Action Party, to which she said she’ll work closely with the relevant parties to ensure a smooth transition.

As the first woman opposition party candidate to win a single member constituency since 1965, the 34—year—old sales trainer hopes her victory will inspire women and younger people in politics.

"I hope that the results last night will encourage more women and younger people to come forward to politics to let them know that it is not something to be fearful about and everyone of us, as long as we have the heart and the right attitude, we can get it done," she said.

Ms Lee will join six other elected members of the Workers’ Party in Parliament, with the remaining 80 seats held by the ruling party.

"The Parliament sitting — that’s coming up very soon, I will like to bring up issues that I have mentioned during the campaign but of course I will need some time to settle into my new role," she shared.

The opposition party has made it clear that it’s not ready to form the next or alternative government.

Mr Low said WP has limited resources and does not want to give Singaporeans false expectations. "We, the Workers’ Party, will play our role entrusted by the people to make sure that the government does its work and where the government has shortcomings. We will point it out and where possible, we will assist wherever we can by giving our opinion. But we are not ready to be the next government or alternative government, and we are clear about this and we do not want to give Singaporeans the false expectation of an alternative government."

And its latest win does not necessarily set the precedence for future elections.

"You have to look at the Punggol East by—election in perspective. It is a by—election. It is not a general election. So people in Punggol East have no worries about perhaps you know, if I vote some other way, I might accidentally throw out the government. So the message to them is very clear. The role that the Workers’ Party wants to play to them is very clear in my message. I said this is the Workers’ Party. This is what we propose to play our role in Parliament — to check on the government, and we give them time. We don’t agitate. I think the message got through," he shared.

Mr Low said while democracy is important for political vibrancy, it’s not productive to politicise everything.

He pointed out that the government is competent and urged leaders to re—prioritise and address the issues related to the costs of living.

He noted that policies have been reviewed but said these need time to take effect. And his party should work with the government to bring about change and improvements.

— CNA/fa/ck

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