Pritam Singh, the 41 year old assistant secretary general of the Workers Party, is widely speculated to take over as party chief from Low Thia Khiang when he steps down next year.
“If they pick Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao or Png Eng Huat as the next leader, it will not be renewal,” said former WP executive council member Goh Meng Seng, referring to the three elected MPs.
Whoever that is going to take over as Secretary General of the WP, must at least be a Member of Parliament. There is one other, Mr Faisal Manap, 42. However, Faisal was reported not to have interest in a leadership position.
Pritam’s moves are limited and very tricky. The Sec-Gen must not only be an elected member, he must also be in command of a GRC. At this point in time, the security of the seats in Aljunied is very, very rickety. Hougang is the probably the only secure seat.
If you were Pritam, would you take a bet on Aljunied? Or would you shift to Hougang? If Aljunied loses, he loses his leadership opportunities entirely. If he moves to Hougang, he will most certainly be tabled as a weak leader.
Moreover, there are many other very capable, very hungry individuals in the Workers Party ranks that will be eyeing the position. Associate Professor Daniel Goh, He Ting Ru, Gerald Giam and Leon Perera are all good candidates, two are in NCMP positions and should they win an election, they would be very strong contenders for party leadership.
It is probably for this reason that Low Thia Khiang decides to relinquish his position right now. He doesn’t want to make the difficult move back to Hougang, nor risk a loss in Aljunied.
Now this monkey is Pritam’s to bear. And it is not an enviable position to be in indeed.