WP60 – The New Normal? (2011 – present)

The New Normal (2011 – Present )

The 2010s began with a sense of great expectation and change. The rise of new media allowed for greater participation and discussion on politics. There was also increasing unhappiness over the burgeoning population, and lack of adequate public housing, among many other issues.

Riding on the support from the previous election, The Workers’ Party had also expanded significantly. The composition of the party changed as youths and professionals joined its ranks. In the 2011 General Elections, The Workers’ Party campaigned on the message, “Towards a First World Parliament”.

With a calculated risk, Low Thia Khiang left his stronghold in Hougang to contest in Aljunied GRC alongside Sylvia Lim, and new members Pritam Singh, Muhammad Faisal bin Manap, and Chen Show Mao. Their victory marked a watershed in Singapore’s history, as it was the first time that an opposition party had won a GRC.

7 May 2011:
2011 General Election

After nine days of intense campaigning and a day of cooling-off, Singaporeans went to the polls with much anticipation on the results. WP made a historic win in Aljunied GRC with 54.72% of the valid votes. They were the first opposition party to win in a GRC since the system was introduced in 1988.

Those from WP voted into Parliament were: Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap and Pritam Singh for Aljunied GRC, and Yaw Shin Leong for Hougang SMC. The Party had fielded 23 candidates in 4 GRCs and 4 SMCs and achieved 46.6% of the valid votes.

June 2011:
Aljunied Constituency Committee established

The Aljunied Constituency Committee (AJCC) was created to serve the residents of Aljunied GRC. Helmed by five elected MPs, AJCC’s main role is to assist in organising community events and activities for residents, and to foster a sense of community in the constituency.

1 August 2011:
WP takes over Town Council

WP formally takes over the Town Council from PAP, and merges it with Hougang, forming the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council. The Town Council oversees Bedok Reservoir-Punggol, Eunos, Kaki Bukit, Paya Lebar, Serangoon Divisions, and Hougang SMC.

10 October 2011:
WP members sworn into Parliament

The newly elected WP members for Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC are sworn into Parliament. Members Yee Jenn Jong and Gerald Giam take up the two NCMP posts offered for their performance in Joo Chiat SMC and East Coast GRC respectively.

15 February 2012:
Yaw Shin Leong expelled

Yaw Shin Leong, MP for Hougang SMC, was expelled from WP for failing to uphold transparency and accountability. This was after he failed to present himself to the Central Executive Committee to explain and discuss the allegations that he had an extramarital affair. Due to the expulsion, the seat for Hougang SMC would be vacated, triggering a by-election.

10 May 2012:
Candidate for Hougang by-election announced

WP announces that Png Eng Huat will be the candidate for Hougang by-election. Png Eng Huat has been with the party since 2006.

26 May 2012:
Hougang by-election

Despite the challenges, Png Eng Huat won the by-election, garnering a 62.08% vote share. WP continues to retain its stronghold held since 1991.

6 January 2013:
Bricks in Blue: Building a New Generation

WP held a matinee and evening concert at the Jubilee Hall of Raffles Hotel, titled “Bricks in Blue: Building a New Generation”. The concert was put up by the Members of Parliament, party members and volunteers. It was aimed at raising funds to support plans of purchasing a permanent space for the party’s headquarters.

9 January 2013:
Writ of election for Punggol East issued

A by-election was called for Punggol East SMC. Michael Palmer, MP for Punggol-East SMC and Speaker of Parliament resigned earlier in December due to an improper relationship he had with a staff member of People’s Association.

13 January 2013:
Lee Li Lian announced as candidate

WP announced that Lee Li Lian would be the candidate for the Punggol-East by-election. Lee Li Lian previously contested in the constituency in the 2011 General Election, and has been with the party since 2006.

26 May 2013:
WP wins Punggol-East by-election

Lee Li Lian wins the Punggol-East by-election, and is also the first female opposition member to win a single-member seat. Despite a four cornered fight and facing off opponents Koh Poh Koon from PAP, Kenneth Jeyaretnam from the Reform Party and Desmond Lim from the Singapore Democratic Alliance, Lee Li Lian won with a substantial swing, garnering 54.52% of the valid votes.

11 September 2015:
General Election

WP retained Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, but lost Punggol-East SMC. Overall, WP’s share of the popular vote slipped by 6.8 points to 39.8%. There was a national swing back to PAP, who garnered 69.9 per cent of the popular vote, almost 10 percent more than its 2011 electoral performance.