Singapore opposition leader Pritam Singh has been named as one of the 19 movers and shakers in the coming year.
English newspaper The Straits Times listed the 42-year old Workers’ Party chief along with finance minister Heng Swee Keat in its ’19 To Watch in 2019′ report released on Saturday.
Pritam’s major task ahead will be to lead his party for the next general elections that must be held before April 2021.
In April, Pritam won unopposed the party’s secretary general post, giving him control of Singapore’s largest opposition party.
He replaced Low Thia Khiang who held the post for 17 years.
The report noted that Pritam would want to step out from Low’s shadow to make his own mark.
He has been deeply involved in multiple issues in Parliament, such as the need for new laws to counter fake news and whether the Government should tap more of the country’s reserves to meet growing spending needs, the report noted.
Outside Parliament, it added that Pritam faces internal issues healing rifts that had emerged within the party with older cadres as the young rise up the ranks.
The report also makes mention of the impending multimillion-dollar civil lawsuits over how Pritam and his party colleagues ran Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
“The outcome could have an impact on their election strategies,” according to the pro-establishment newspaper.
Pritam first entered parliament after a spectacular victory in the 2011 general elections. He was part of a five-person WP’s team that took on People’s Action Party (PAP) team led by Foreign Minister George Yeo for the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC). WP’s victory in that contest marked the first occasion in Singapore’s history when an opposition party had won an election in a GRC.
GRC is unique to the Singapore political landscape. Political parties are required to field a team of between three to six candidates, with at least one of them coming from a minority race.
WP repeated the same success in Aljunied in 2015, with Pritam again being part of the team.
Pritam was then appointed as the chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, the only town council cornered by an opposition party after the 2015 polls.
Pritam Singh elected secretary general, takes charge of Workers’ Party (Asia Samachar, 8 April 2018)
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