SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party (WP) has injected new blood into its central executive council (CEC), a year after it took the unusual step of re-electing only existing leaders to its decision-making body.
Two of the three co-opted into the CEC are new faces unveiled during the Punggol East by-election campaign earlier this year: lawyer Dennis Tan, 43, and sociologist Daniel Goh, 40. Both spoke at rallies during the campaign.
The third is the youngest but has the most experience with the party: Mr Toh Hong Boon, 33, who contested in Moulmein- Kallang GRC in the 2011 General Election. He is a project coordinator in the R&D division of a global agrochemicals firm.
The WP said in a statement last night that the CEC decided to co-opt the three at its recent monthly meeting. The appointments take effect next month.
While the party did not explain its decision, the leadership changes come about midway through the current CEC's term, which usually lasts two years. WP cadres had elected a new CEC at a conference in August last year. But in a break with the past, the council line-up had been almost exactly the same as the previous incarnation, with no new faces.
WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang told The Straits Times then that the party was going through a "consolidation phase", adding: "We will take stock of the last one or 11/2 years before we (sit) down to move forward."
It had voted new members into the CEC at each of the last three conferences since 2006.
Explaining the anomaly, Mr Low had said in August last year: "There are younger members of the party but we need more time to understand them better. Some of them are also not ready to take up leadership positions."
Friday's decision signals that the party is giving the green light for development plans - likely for the next general election - and is earmarking future leaders who have been put through their paces.
The three new CEC members have been active in party and constituency activities. Mr Toh is legislative assistant to WP chairman Sylvia Lim in her Serangoon ward. Associate Professor Goh helps MP Lee Li Lian in Punggol East while Mr Tan helps Aljunied GRC MP Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap in Kaki Bukit.
The last time the CEC co-opted members was in 2011, when Aljunied GRC MPs Chen Show Mao and Pritam Singh and Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong were added to the council after the general election.
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