Leadership succession of Workers’ Party not a surprise, only a question of when

It may seem to be a surprise to many but those who know Mr Low well will know that he has long been concerned about building an organisation that will continue to succeed after him. It is only a question of when.

As a then-outsider of WP in 2006, I observed how GE2006 unearthed many young, educated and professionally successful candidates. I was impressed with the leadership’s calm and disciplined handling of PAP’s baiting over the James Gomez incident. That to me, was an opposition party that was rewriting the PAP’s narrative of the opposition.

By 2011, I was sufficiently convinced that WP had transformed itself into a respectable and rationale opposition party, one that I was confident to step forward and volunteer myself to join. Their manifestos are clearly laid out in each GE for those who care to comb through the many pages.

During my term in parliament from 2011-2015, I could see how Mr Low was carefully guiding the new WP parliamentarians into the ways of parliament. Mis-steps and public disagreements would set back the growth of the opposition, like what happened from 1991-1997. Individual brilliance may be important, but for an organisation to develop, the team has to play together. I benefited from Mr Low’s frank comments on the drafts of my speeches. Many of those were not just about the content of that one speech but about the principles behind working together as a team, being consistent to the Party’s stated positions and understanding the long term implications to Singaporeans of what were being proposed.

Many clamour for merger of opposition parties; for an immediate alternative to the PAP. Singapore has an unique political climate. The over domineering ruling party has their hands into every lever that controls the government, economy, electoral processes, publicly-funded community outreach, media, the unions and more. They have the means to tear apart any opponent that grows too strong. Any disunity within an alternative party will be quickly picked upon and magnified until the party gets destroyed. Any mis-step will be hounded upon, audited until the death of it, and attacked from every possible angle.

It is a terribly unhealthy situation for the long term development of Singapore. What worked in our founding years with a responsible and capable team of pioneer leaders given a blank cheque is not a guarantee that it will work in the future. There should be a healthy challenge. I stepped forward in 2011 because I saw many misguided policies that had bad implications on the ground but were ignored by policymakers. Only a serious challenge in the ballot boxes would force a rethink by the ruling party.

I am glad to have worked with many capable team members and yes, I do think there’s a younger generation able to step up. It will not be in the same way as what Mr Low did, nor what Mr JBJ had done. Each leader has his own style and what’s important is how to develop the organisational structure to survive beyond the leader of the day.

And no, I disagree with analysts who think the stepping down has anything to do with the impending town council law suit. The plan for succession was laid out long ago and implemented in steps. There’s still some way to go before an alternative government can be formed but I think this is as far as Singapore has gotten to since independence. And it will be with the support of Singaporeans that it can go to an even greater height.


Facebook post by Mr Yee Jenn Jong, former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (2011-2015).



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21 Responses to “Leadership succession of Workers’ Party not a surprise, only a question of when”

  • LIONS:

    next WP BOSS must take iniative to unite all oppo or face gloom,no excuses nor curses,just plain logic.

    ltk should have been more cautious not to allow PAP to pick bones on TOWN COUncil issues;that it happened makes me,ardent supporter of OPPO rather sad.

    OPPO must show they are heads and shoulders above the nonsensical PAP TCs like AIM n their bullshits.

    GD Star Rating
  • opposition dude:

    Mr Low stepping down is significant news but nothing earth shattering as WP is not the one governing Singapore.

    I haven’t read the report about it but I don’t remember a successor being named. I hope whoever the successor is will finally resolve the town council issue so as to shut PAP’s mouth once and for all.

    Wishing WP all the best and may your next leader have more of your own party in parliament!

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  • Harder Truths:

    Mr Low

    Respected Sir, thank you for your service to $G locals who have no voice and no future.

    It is too late to get back what has been lost. There may be no opposition next time around as the drive for a Happy North Korea seems well under way. However there is nothing we can do about it.

    I wish you well and may God Bless You.

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  • poon pee pee:

    goh meng seng please log on and comment.

    singaporeans know that you are still bitter having to leave the WP.

    imagine if you had stayed on, you can now have your chance of running for the post of sec general of the WP.

    mister wise one, goh meng seng please log in and share your thoughts and wisdom with us.

    we miss your presence in tre.

    you seemed to have disappeared from the ah leong forum as well.

    saw you one time in hardwarezone trying to make a name for yourself there but you got told off by the cybernuts over there. sigh! damn the cybernuts over there lah…

    was it you at the silent protest at hlp. damn satki lah..your yellow umbrella look so nice. where you buy?

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  • doggie:

    It is a good news. It shows WP has the depth, unlike SPP. Once Chiam retires, they are goner. But if Low retires (or step to the background), WP still have new leaders to keep it going for the long run. They should be at least able to hold their ground next GE at the very least.

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  • Caw:

    I like the part where pappies use James Gomez to bait for ……….law suit, perhaps?

    But I can safely said that Low has no choice now …….the lawsuit in Ahtc will end his career, that of Sylvia n pritam!

    However, there is a bright side EP will retain Ahtc because successors are ready! This is the miscalculate of caw, caw caw?

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  • Teka:

    Never stay too long in politics

    Really no good.

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  • hhhsit:

    Why Ah Long is hanging on? When he is always talking about renewal?

    Why KBW, Botak and lots of old ministers still hanging around?

    PAP BS only 70% would believe.

    GD Star Rating
  • PAP owns this country:

    PAP owns this country.
    LTK threw in the towel.
    PAP will rule over Singapore for another 100 years.

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  • LTK - Keep IT Up:

    LTK keep it up.
    Current PAP instead of focusing on grooming local talents, they brought in
    tons of RUBBISH Immigrants to rig election result.
    Instead of better educating our younger generation to help them develop
    direction and pride in work, PAP keep paying tons of incompetent staff to teach in Polytechnic.
    Lots of these staff I know juz seat there and act busy.
    Great passing rate but are our youth learning anything?
    Why are we budgeted so much for education but our youth cannot compete with
    Corporate Culture or another I do not want to solve prob as I see no problem?!
    PAP style finding excuses on all NONSENSE.

    GD Star Rating
  • kampongboy:

    WP leader is a big dissappointment. Bad opposition is worst than no opposition.
    What this WP leaders did cannot be describe in words.
    Ask them to go fiack themselves.
    we the 40% is disgusted with them.


    Native singaporean

    GD Star Rating
  • N.Jungne:

    LTK has gracefully announced his plan, what about Ah Loong? Still cannot let go, no matter how you can’t take along in death. So time to let go, then let go lor or you want to be remembered as Good for Nothing PeeAyam.

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  • Saving WP:

    It’s best LTK step down as he’s been a very ineffective leader. If people aren’t convinced by his leadership, then how are they going to be convinced by his colleagues? WP needs someone more intimidating and articulate.

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  • Shut up looney:

    Why Ah Long is hanging on? When he is always talking about renewal?

    Why KBW, Botak and lots of old ministers still hanging around?

    PAP BS only 70% would believe.

    GD Star Rating
  • Warren Farknandez:

    Put LTK and JBJ side by side, we can easily tell who is THE MAN!

    I notice he seldon mention JBJ maybe afraid people will compare him with the BRAVE LION.

    LTK style is long known as a harmless toothless tiger.

    He was lucky to have won a grc although only after so long.

    Nevertheless, that was not all to his credit. It was due to the tak boleh tahan brought on by the pappies.

    Good Riddance, LTK!

    YOU ARE PRECISELY THE OBSTACLE THAT PREVENTED pappo from losing another grc in the last.

    You cannot even speak properly.

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  • 2nd law:

    No 1 can deny destiny.

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  • fvtgybhnuiko:

    LTK stepping down could be he want to make himself to be a scapegoat for the party, in case PAP were to sue them for town council finance issues, he may be willing to get sue instead of all his other party members. Then even when he is in jail, his party and members will still be staying alive and running or he know that he is old that cannot do much, so let young ones taking over him better.

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  • Leemugam:

    Maybe LTK should habd over the reign to his son? Hahaha.

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  • Sg Mehleetocracy:

    While LTK is well loved by his voters, he is also the reason for the lack of progress in the last GE.

    I applaud him for doing the generous act of stepping down unlike some power hungry ghost world number one most KIASU s. o. b.

    He has proven he has nothing greater than he can offer.
    His english is as good as he can get it to be though still unimpressive.

    He should take the tax money he accumulated and retire.

    If found guilty, at least he won’t implicate the party as much.

    Ho Chun Sing a song.

    GD Star Rating
  • Lao Lee 打手枪:

    LTK has long past his EXPIRY DATE.

    Longan Ballz too.

    KBW should resign.

    GD Star Rating
  • his:

    Why Ah Long still hanging on????

    GD Star Rating
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