UNCLE SUAN: Can Chen Show Mao defy all “odds” to become the next secretary-general of the Workers’ Party?
Possibly, despite current WP deputy secretary-general Pritam Singh being the hot favourite.
So far, Sylvia Lim, Dennis Tan, Leon Perera and Daniel Goh have bowed out of the race.
Which leaves Chen Show Mao and Pritam Singh as the only viable candidates left.
So, who will the 130 or so Workers’ Party cadres who are eligible to vote cast their vote for as the next WP Sec-Gen?
(If you like gossip, then read this rumour about the WP’s Dennis Tan that’s making its rounds: Dennis Tan the Root of Workers’ Party Rift, According to “WP Insider” Rumour Going Around)
The voting system, implemented by current WP Sec-Gen Low Thia Khiang, was meant to democratise the process of selecting a Sec-Gen.
In the last Sec-Gen election (in 2016), Chen lost narrowly to Low by 61 to 45 votes.
Just before that, Low had added approved another 28 names to the list of eligible voters.
With Low saying he will step down, it’s unclear whether his deputy, Pritam Singh, will be given the same support.
Because, Like Low, Aljunied-Hougang Town Council chairman Singh is also being sued by AHTC to recover lost monies due to improper payments.
While Singh might be endorsed by some of his comrades such as Daniel Goh, it’s uncertain whether he inspires the same confidence among other WP cadres with that lawsuit looming.
It would be gravely embarrassing for the WP to lose its leader through bankruptcy, supposing Singh is really, to quote a classic Ah Low phrase, sued until pants drop.
At the same time, there seems to be a growing support for Chen Show Mao, as seen in his narrow defeat to Low in 2016.
Chen only joined the party in 2011, and it is pretty remarkable to muster such a strong support base
against the man presently synonymous with the WP for close to 20 years.
According to a WP veteran, Chen is seen as “his own man” with his own ideas, and that’s possibly why he has inadvertently led to a split in the WP .
Meanwhile, Singh, according to the same party veteran, is seen as an extension of Low.
A WP cadre reportedly said in 2016 that there is a “divide between those who believe in Mr Low’s direction for a credible party based on a rational and responsible opposition, and those who are disgruntled and want the WP to challenge all the seats held by the PAP.”
If he is nominated again, who’s to say Chen won’t win with Low out of the picture and Singh’s embroilment in the AHTC lawsuit?