Can Low be Prime Minister?

Can you imagine a time when the Prime Minister is not from the PAP i.e. the government is helmed by the opposition party? By opposition, we definitely mean The Workers’ Party (WP) that has held seats in Parliament.

What if: WP contests for and wins more than half the total seats, and becomes the ruling party in the next GE…?

It is of tradition that the Secretary-General of the party with the majority of seats won become Prime Minister. You got it right – since Mr Low Thia Khiang is the Secretary-General of WP, he would naturally assume the position.

Well… That is if he is not forced to resign from his own party because of internal fights for power, if anything. (Recall how Mr Chiam See Tong was ousted from the Singapore Democratic Party in 1993.)

In any case, I’m also not too sure if Singaporeans would like the de facto leader of the opposition as Prime Minister. Firstly, he lacks the eloquence to be one (judging from his diction and enunciation). Remember the heated parliamentary debate he had with PM Lee last year?

Transcript available here.

While Low studied government and public administration during his schooling days, it is unclear if he is really well-versed in it. WP doesn’t seem to be giving alternative recommendations that can be implemented. In short, other than saying ‘Our stand is that this policy will not work…’, it hasn’t said much.

Moreover, the question on whether businessmen will make good politicians is also widely questioned in other countries’ governance. The sentiment is that most do not. The nature of businesses is always ‘for profit’, it would be dangerous if the mentality is brought into Parliament; because then it will come to be that money can solve everything.

The solution will be a recurring problem, and we will soon be struggling in debt.

If not Low, then who?

No party is perfect. If Low isn’t up to the position, who else can rise up from the cracks?

Sylvia Lim Swee Lian, Chairman of The Workers’ Party?


A law lecturer in Temasek Polytechnic at one point, Lim’s speeches are in check. She also has other achievements under her belt. But apart from the political rallies during election season, and one or two hard-line speeches about ministerial salaries in 2010 before the last elections, there is still much to learn about this feisty Chairman of the Workers’ Party.

On the flipside, she has led the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) into the red and was seen helming some of the court cases against the Workers’ Party controlled AHPETC.

Would she also be the first female Prime Minister in Singapore?


Chen Show Mao, Treasurer of The Workers’ Party, aka the ‘star candidate’?


Chen is the most well-educated minister from WP. He was the President of National Junior College’s Student Council and also topped the 1979 GCE ‘A’ Level Examinations.

Having studied economics at Harvard University and read in law at Stanford Law School, he might know better how a country can be run. (Did I mention he was awarded the Rhodes scholarship, ‘the most prestigious scholarship in the world’ to study in Oxford University?)

He’s seen to give excellent speeches in Parliament, but performs quite poorly when it comes to actual debates.


Apart from the three mentioned above, there are some other candidates of good educational background… but their political clout (especially with foreign ambassadors) have yet to be proven.

The coming GE will indeed be a test of WP’s performance – they will definitely be targeting to win at least a 1/3rd capture of Parliament. Perhaps even winning  a two-third majority if Singaporeans cast angry votes against the PAP.

Which is the Prime Minister amongst them?

Perhaps it would be seen in the way Low Thia Khiang deploys the candidates.

Perhaps it would be a matter of paper qualifications.

Perhaps it would be an arbitrary decision.

We would be curious to know.


About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

View all posts


Share your thoughts!