Chiam See Tong to step down as Singapore People's Party secretary-general next month: reports

Chiam See Tong (L), secretary-general of the opposition Singapore People's Party (SPP), shakes hands with supporters after the final night of election rallies in Singapore May 5, 2011. Chiam is one of the only two elected opposition MPs. Singapore will hold a general election on Saturday.     REUTERS/Tan Shung Sin (SINGAPORE - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Veteran Singapore politician Chiam See Tong during the 2011 General Elections. (PHOTO: Reuters/Tan Shung Sin)

SINGAPORE — Veteran Singapore politician Chiam See Tong will likely step down from his Singapore People’s Party (SPP) secretary-general post at next month’s Ordinary Party Conference, according to media reports on Wednesday (4 September).

In a Facebook post on the same day, SPP announced that it would be electing a new leadership team at the biennial conference on 16 October.

The post said that the conference will “provide the SPP an opportunity to rejuvenate and elect its new leadership team and inject a set of passionate leaders who will help us take the party forward”.

Party chairman Lina Chiam added, "SPP will be 25 years old in November. As we reach this important landmark, it heartens us to see so many compassionate, competent and caring young leaders who are coming forward to serve the country."

According to The Straits Times, Chiam’s decision to step down was made during a Central Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday evening at the party’s Sin Ming Drive headquarters.

The national broadsheet also reported that the front-runners to succeed Chiam are organising secretary Steve Chia, a former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from the National Solidarity Party; and party member Jose Raymond, 47, former Singapore Environment Council executive director.

Chiam, now 84, was Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir from 1984 to 2011. He assumed leadership of the SPP in December 1996, after leaving his previous party, the Singapore Democratic Party.

He made a rare public appearance last month at the Chiam See Tong Sports Fund gala dinner. He was in a wheelchair and was unable to talk, but managed to shake hands with attendees, including guest-of-honour Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

In Wednesday's Facebook post, the SPP also said that lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss has resigned from the party.

The 56-year-old also put up a post on her Facebook page on Wednesday, thanking the party and stating that she resigned “after much thought and careful consideration”.

“I entered politics in 2009 because I was convinced that the PAP held too much power and I was worried for Singaporeans. I felt that we desperately needed more opposition in Parliament to redress the imbalance,” she wrote in her post.

“My convictions have not changed. If anything, I feel more strongly than ever that we must have more non-PAP MPs in Parliament. The fight for more political balance remains urgent and imperative.

“There are many ways to serve my country and to serve Singaporeans. I hope to continue serving the cause of Singaporeans in one way or another.”

Chong-Aruldoss had faced the People's Action Party's Lim Biow Chuan in Mountbatten single-member constituency during the 2015 general election, where she lost after winning 28.16 per cent of the votes.

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