Singapore – Ling How Doong, former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman and Member of Parliament, has passed away at the age of 85 on Friday (Apr 30).
Mr Ling first ran for Parliament in the 1984 general election and did so again four years later, where he contested Bukit Gombak against the People’s Action Party’s Seet Ai Mee.
In 1991, Mr Ling got his breakthrough and defeated Ms Seet amid a controversial hand-washing incident that occurred during the campaign.
Mr Ling, along with then-party leader Chiam See Tong and Cheo Chai Chen, was elected in what became SDP’s best election performance to date.
The Workers’ Party’s Low Thia Khiang was also elected to Parliament that year.
After the split between Mr Chiam and SDP’s current secretary-general, Chee Soon Juan, Mr Ling lost his seat in 1997. During this time, Mr Chiam left SDP to join the Singapore People’s Party (SPP).
Mr Ling contested for Bukit Gombak in the 2001 and 2006 elections but did not regain his seat in Parliament.
He continued serving as SDP’s chairman until 2007.
Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao first reported on Mr Ling’s death, according to The Straits Times.
It was reported that Mr Ling leaves behind his wife, Madam Toh Siew Ing, three sons and four grandchildren.
Dr Chee also took to Facebook on May 1 to thank Mr Ling, calling him a “tireless defender of the rights of workers.”
He “consistently advocated for the protection of the needy and vulnerable in Singapore,” wrote Dr Chee.
“He entered opposition politics in an era when social media was non-existent.”
Yet despite the odds, Mr Ling answered the call of duty and joined the SDP, said Dr Chee.
“Understandably, he shunned the media and diligently went about the business of taking care of estate matters in his constituency. Some residents will remember seeing him wield the power water jet and help his Town Council workers clean the walkways – no fanfare, no photo-ops.”
Dr Chee mentioned how Mr Ling beamed when he visited the SDP office in Ang Mo Kio after the 2015 elections.
Mr Ling had remarked that for the first time, “he saw hope in Singapore’s future as a democracy and that the SDP must stick to its never-say-die spirit in championing the rights of the people.”
Dr Chee also attached a photo of the team paying their last respects to their former chairman./TISG
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