Translated by Donaldson Tan
This is a non-verbatim translation of Zaobao report 《刘程强：我没掉进’非选区议员圈套’》 dated 10 March 2011.
(2011-03-10) ● 周殊钦
LTK: I didn’t fall into NCMP Trap
Last night, Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang rejected the conspiracy theory that the reason why WP had refused to compromise with other opposition political parties is that it intended to enter Parliament via the NCMP route.
He stressed that he had already said in Parliament that he would never accept the NCMP seat. On the other hand, if other WP members were to be offered NCMP seats, the party would convene a meeting to make the decision to accept or reject the NCMP offer.
Zaobao reported yesterday that there are opposition leaders who are unhappy with WP whose unyielding attitude and refusal to compromise have led to the possibility of three-cornered fights at some SMCs. One Opposition leader, on the condition of anonymity, told Zaobao that this is the result of WP falling into the NCMP trap.
The Singapore Constitution stipulates the appointment of up to 9 NCMPs should there are less than 9 Opposition members elected into Parliament. 2 members of every Opposition GRC team stand a chance of becoming a NCMP. In order to boost the chances of its GRC teams entering Parliament, WP’s election strategy may involve sending candidates to SMCs in order to reduce the likelihood of other (smaller) opposition political parties from entering Parliament.
Mr Low is also the MP for Hougang. Last night, he specially arranged for this interview just before his weekly scheduled Meet-The-People Session (MPS) so as to rectify any incorrect public impression of the Workers’ Party. He not only condemned the conspiracy theory as nonsense, but also added that the dragging inter-party disputes onto the public stage is as good as “using rocks to smash one’s own feet”.
“I don’t know on what basis the anonymous Opposition leader makes his claim. Who is he? I hope he will come out to the open and clear the air. If he wants to do politics, he shouldn’t hide. Even I find his behaviour baffling,” Mr Low said.
Mr Low also added the number of GE candidates WP would be putting up this coming General Election is close to the number (20) from the last General Election, thus the arguments that the WP is eyeing NCMP seats and that it is ambitious based on the number of GE candidates do not stand.
On criticism that the WP is reluctant to cooperate with other political parties in order to avoid three-cornered fights, Mr Low said that the situation is still fluid and no conclusion be made until nomination day.
“If we say we are going to contest at a particular constituency, it means we definitely have candidates for that constituency. For example, during the last General Election, we said we are prepared to contest at Ang Mo Kio GRC and we indeed did. However, we didn’t say we would be contesting at Ang Mo Kio GRC this coming General Election. We mean our words.”