The Singapore People's Party (SPP) Secretary-General Chiam See Tong, one of the most prominent opposition figures in Singapore’s political history, won’t be running in next month's General Election (GE) for the first time since he campaigned as an independent candidate in 1976.
The veteran politician, who was MP for Potong Pasir for 27 years until 2011, will be advising SPP for the GE and won’t be retiring form politics, the party said at a news conference on Sunday (30 Aug).
"He (Chiam) will continue for as long as he can in an advisory capacity, but there're no plans for him to run,” Iman Lim, SPP’s media manager said.
Chiam last ran for election in 2011 when he led an SPP team to contest in the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and lost to the team fielded by the People’s Action Party (PAP).
Meanwhile, the SPP and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced they will be fielding Law Kim Hwee, Abdillah Zamzuri, Bryan Long, Benjamin Pwee and Mohamad Hamim Aliyas to contest in the GRC, with the latter two having resigned from the DPP as secretary-general and chairman, respectively, to campaign under the SPP banner. Under Singapore’s election rules, those contesting in a GRC have to be members from one party or are independent candidates.
Pwee said at the conference that he and Hamim will rejoin the DPP if SPP were to lose in the GRC in the GE on 11 September under an agreement between the parties.
“The partnership [between the two parties] will still continue – it is not a partnership of convenience which just stops at this election, and we will continue to partner and walk the ground over the next five years if we lose. If we win, Hamim and myself will continue under the SPP banner, but we also agreed there will be a joint team with representatives from both parties coming together to run the constituency.”
He also spoke about the potential of a merger.
“I think for the past two weeks we’ve been caught up identifying our candidates and the party campaign. Let me just say that there is enough good will on both sides for a merger, or an alliance or a coalition to happen, but we’re putting that until after the election takes place.”
The SPP-DPP team will face a PAP team comprising Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo, Chee Hong Tat, Chong Kee Hiong and Saktiandi Supaat. - (With additional reporting by Vernon Lee)