PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday took to task the Workers' Party (WP) candidates at Aljunied GRC for disappearing after last year's General Elections.
'Our (People's Action Party) five men are working hard, but the opposition's five have scattered like monkeys when the tree fell,' he said in Mandarin, using a Chinese proverb.
'One of them has run to Sweden, the other has left the WP. They called it their A team, I say it is A for AWOL,' he added to much laughter at a dialogue at the annual PAP convention.
Mr Lee, who is secretary-general of the PAP, was responding to veteran party member Png Wee Chor, who made an impassioned plea that the PAP bolster its strength at Aljunied GRC ahead of the next polls.
The 68-year-old wanted to know how the party leaders were going to counter the WP's declaration last Sunday that it aims to win a GRC in the next elections, and its argument that failure would mean the end of the opposition here.
In last year's General Election, the WP team that fought in Aljunied GRC scored the highest number of votes among opposition parties in a Group Representation Constituency.
Led by party chairman Sylvia Lim, they took 43.9 per cent of the valid votes, losing to the PAP team led by Foreign Minister George Yeo.
But after the polls, the WP's Mr James Gomez left to work in Sweden and Mr Goh Meng Seng resigned from the party.
Another team member, Mr Tan Wui-Hua, is also working overseas now. The fifth person was businessman Mohammed Rahizan Yaacob.
While Mr Png - one of three dialogue participants who referred to the Aljunied battle - was full of praise for Mr Yeo, he added that the Minister was too busy and hardly had time to meet the residents.
Read the full report in Monday's edition of The Straits Times.