Indian-Origin Lawyer Elected Leader of Singapore’s Opposition Party
Pritam Singh, 41, was elected unopposed as general secretary of the Workers’ Party in Singapore.
An Indian-origin lawyer and lawmaker in Singapore was elected unopposed as the new secretary general of the Workers’ Party on April 8. Pritam Singh, 41, who has become the leader of Singapore’s main Opposition party now, succeeded Low Thia Khiang. The 61-year-old veteran Member of Parliament held the position for 17 years.
Singh, who is also a town council chairman and MP for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency, a five-member group representation constituency in the north-eastern and eastern region of Singapore, was first elected to Parliament in May 2011.
He was previously the assistant secretary general from July 7, 2016. He moved up unopposed from the position of the assistant secretary general to that of the secretary general on April 8 following the biennial Central Executive Council elections.
Khiang, who was the secretary general since 2001, announced in November 2017 that he would not contest the elections again. Singh was seen as the front runner for the position of the party head.
“Without new blood, the party will die a natural death in time to come,” Khiang said, according to the Straits Times. Singh said that his immediate task is to reach out to party members for their views and vision for the party.
“It is also important for the newly elected central executive committee (CEC) to move forward as a team,” he added. “The process will be quite consultative.”
Political analysts say Singh’s ascension to the leadership position will bring significant challenges.
“The WP has, in the last 17-18 years, been identified very much with Mr. Low, but here is the opportunity for the party to demonstrate that it is more than just Mr. Low … a party that is able to appeal to a much broader spectrum of Singaporeans,” associate professor Eugene Tan said, according to Channel News Asia. “This is one challenge which presents both opportunities and risks,” he said.
About Singh, he added: “I think, if anything, he would want to walk his own journey. It’s very much change with continuity. I think Mr. Singh will be keen to be his own man, but he will certainly rely on the tremendous wealth of experience Mr. Low has. And with Mr. Low continuing to be on the executive council, I think you have that wonderful combination of youth as well as experience and strategic direction as well.”
Singh will be representing the Workers’ Party when Singapore Parliament reopens in May after a mid-term break.