A National Day dinner organised by the Workers' Party Grassroots Committee (GPC) drew an estimated 1,400 people on Aug. 13, Saturday night, according to a spokesperson for the party.
It was organised for the residents from the WP-held wards of Hougang, Sengkang and Aljunied.
The dinner was held at a basketball court beside Block 324 along Hougang Avenue 5, and was, according to WP Member of Parliament (MP) Dennis Tan, "the first big dinner event since the election" in 2020, following the Covid-19 pandemic.
WP MPs and other party leaders present for the event included Secretary-General Pritam Singh, former Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang, Png Eng Huat, Dennis Tan, Nicole Seah, Gerald Giam, Faisal Manap, He Ting Ru, Sylvia Lim, Louis Chua, Leon Perera, Jamus Lim and Kenneth Foo.
Many of them were seen mingling with members of the public.
Three toasts were also led by Singh, with Chua helping him to translate into Chinese.
They toasted to Singapore, the constituents of Aljunied, Hougang and Sengkang, and to everyone who attended the event, including representatives from churches, temples, mosques, family service centres and community organisations based in Aljunied, Hougang and Sengkang.
The WP MPs later concluded the dinner with a rendition of NDP song "Home", as Jamus Lim strummed the guitar.
Singh answers questions on developments for the WP
During a doorstop interview with the media prior to the dinner, WP leaders like Singh, Chua, Seah and Tan gave updates on developments for the WP in the constituencies and its online and offline outreach efforts.
Singh also answered several questions posed by reporters, which included the departure of former MP Raeesah Khan, and the current concerns of residents.
Replacement for Khan will eventually happen
With regard to Khan's departure, Singh said that a replacement for Khan will happen in "due course" and that he had no further comments on this particular matter.
As for whether morale among WP volunteers had been affected by the incident with Khan, Singh said, "You can maybe take a look at the attendance at the event (the dinner) behind us, and also speak to various members of the public and members of the party who have attended to get a feel of that for yourself."
He added, "I am proud of the party, I'm proud of how quickly we came together as one."
In stressing the importance of unity for the WP, he added that if this was not the case, there would be issues in engaging with the public, being persuasive, and representing opposition interests effectively.
WP will continue to examine how the inflation support package can be enlarged
As for the current concerns of residents, Singh noted that much of this revolved around the cost of living, which he said was "perfectly understandable".
The rise of daily essentials, he added, has been particularly felt by older residents.
In acknowledging the S$1.5 billion inflation support package provided by the government, Singh added that the WP would continue to look at the fiscal situation of the government to see if there is scope to enlarge the package.
Seah: Quite a number of volunteers from East Coast GRC
Seah, who is WP's Youth Wing President and a Central Executive Committee member, spoke briefly, giving an update on the WP’s activities in East Coast GRC.
Seah, who stood for election in East Coast GRC in 2020 and lost, spoke of walkabouts, house visits and a monthly food distribution programme in Bedok North. The WP have also launched an initiative offering free haircuts to needy and elderly residents.
"With regards to East Coast GRC internally, what we have also noticed is that we have seen quite a number of volunteers who come specifically from the wards, the constituency itself. So we have many East Coast GRC residents step forward, and I think this ultimately gives rise to their desire to see a much stronger WP showing the next time round", she said.
Singh's National Day Message
In his National Day message on Aug. 8, Singh highlighted that thus far, some of the proposals put forward by the WP in Parliament included using macroeconomic tools to mitigate inflation, and making housing, medical treatment and transport more affordable, among other matters.
He wrote further:
"We must navigate the path ahead with a sense of purpose and unity as fellow Singaporeans, even as we share many diverse aspirations and dreams. With a collective effort, we will be able to overcome today’s challenges to build Singapore into the nation we want it to be."
Top photo by Sulaiman Daud