The Only Thing Pritam Singh Has in Common With JBJ is the Colour of His Skin
Today Daniel Goh announced that he would not be contesting the SG role leaving the field clear for Pritam Singh to be elected to lead the Workers Party. State media has suggested that Chen Show Mao could contest again following his unsuccessful challenge to Low in 2016. However this seems unlikely given the latter’s disappointing performance since he was elected in 2011 with high hopes that he would raise the intellectual calibre of WP. Neither does it seem likely now that Dennis Tan will enter the fray given the fact that Daniel Goh has thrown his support behind Pritam.
Of course WP has a cadre system, like all the other political parties in Singapore including the PAP. (The only exception is the Reform Party which was set up by my father in 2008). Since this means the people who elect the leadership have to first be chosen by the same leadership, there is little to no chance of what the PAP has taught Singaporeans to call a “freak result” and in any other country would be called democracy. This means the elevation of Pritam Singh to become SG is a foregone conclusion.
Since Pritam is ethnically Indian, no doubt comparisons will be drawn between him and my father. However since he has been selected by Low and Sylvia there are likely to be fewer of the racist comments made by WP veterans in the 60th Anniversary special commemorative book that, like the PAP Government WP aspires to join, tried to write JBJ out of history. I wrote about this back in November, “On Its 60th Anniversary The WP Conspires with PAP to Create A Fake History“. While the objective of the book was to downplay JBJ’s contribution to WP’s history and Singapore by denigrating his race, the outgoing leaders of WP who are departing under the cloud of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) lawsuit brought by my brother, will not wish to damage Pritam’s electoral prospects.
But the similarities between Pritam and JBJ stop there. While he feels no shame in using my father’s name if he thinks it will help him to win votes (as during the 2011 General Election TV broadcast), he admitted to me at a conference of Asian political parties held in KL in 2016 that he is too scared to speak up like JBJ because he has a family. He likened JBJ to a meteorite in the sky that burnt brightly before falling to earth.
Low Thia Kiang seems to be departing in a hurry, anxious to have stepped down before the AHTC lawsuit gets underway, presumably before the courts can rule on the allegations that he and the other MPs enriched themselves improperly in the management of the town council. He will also not be contesting the next election. While Sylvia Lim has not stepped down as Chair yet, she is also a party to the lawsuit and will find it difficult to stay if the allegations are proven. I have heard from some of the WP veterans that she will be stepping down as an MP at the next election, to make way for even more fake Opposition like Nicole Seah, whose carefully crafted fake media image has been created by her wealthy mother who heads the Singapore office of IPG, a US advertising agency. When she was in the Reform Party Nicole famously advised me before a media interview not to criticise the PAP. I do not understand how Pritam can survive as he is also a party to the lawsuit but perhaps it is part of the plan to have him as an interim leader who will take the blame and be damaged enough to have to step down after the next election, especially if WP lose Aljunied which seems increasingly likely. If Nicole or people like her take over then the transformation of WP into the PAP B team or East Coast branch will be complete.
It is ironic that Low and Sylvia (and Pritam), who joined forces with the PAP to create a fake image that they had saved the WP and made it more credible after ousting my dad and then thought that they had reached some kind of modus vivendi with the PAP that would leave them in peace to enrich themselves provided they did not expand or pose a threat, now seem to have tarnished the WP, perhaps fatally. They have done a grave disservice to democracy in Singapore from which it may never recover.