He will not be standing in elections for the first time in close to four decades, but opposition veteran Chiam See Tong, who remains the chief of the Singapore People’s Party, said he has “a long way to go”.
SPP will be fielding a team with the Democratic Progressive Party in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in the impending polls, and Mr Chiam, who had unsuccessfully contested there in the 2011 General Election, will be advising them.
During a SPP-DPP press conference at Block 211 Toa Payoh Lorong on Sunday (Aug 30), his wife Lina Chiam said Mr Chiam would not stand this time because of health and age. Mr Chiam, 80, who was Singapore’s longest serving opposition politician until 2011, has suffered two strokes in recent years.
But while he appeared frail and was almost inaudible when speaking, he responded sharply when asked if he was retiring: “I’ve still got a long way to go.”
The former teacher-turned-lawyer first entered politics in 1976, when he contested against then Minister for National Development and Communications Lim Kim San in the Cairnhill ward. But he only saw success at the 1984 polls, after he garnered 60.28 per cent of the votes in Potong Pasir single member constituency.
For the next 27 years, Mr Chiam represented the residents of Potong Pasir in Parliament, but in 2011, he decided to lead a team to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. His team lost to the People’s Action Party incumbents with 43.07 per cent of the votes. Mrs Chiam contested in Potong Pasir in his place, but lost by 114 votes to the PAP’s Sitoh Yih Pin.
In recent weeks, Mrs Chiam, the SPP’s chairman, had played coy over whether her husband would contest again and insisted that “everything is fluid”.