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Former SDP chairman passes away due to cardiac arrest at age 74

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Former chairman, Mr Gandhi Ambalam, passed away last night due to cardiac arrest. The late opposition politician was 74 years old when he died.

A former senior journalist who served in top positions at the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now MediaCorp) and worked with prominent establishment figures, Mr Gandhi joined the after stumbling upon a book by the party’s secretary-general Dr .

Finding Dr Chee’s political philosophy concordant with his own ideals, Mr Gandhi joined the opposition party later that year. He became the party’s chair in 2007 and held the post for four years, until 2011 when he retired from politics.

In an interview with the Think Centre’s Melvin Tan, Mr Gandhi said of Dr Chee: “I find that we’re both like-minded and have a lot of in common in terms of beliefs. He is a consultative leader and we have good working relationships. I find it a pleasure to be associated with him.”

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In a press statement, the SDP said that it mourns the loss of its former chair: “Mr Gandhi was an integral part of a series of protests for Singaporeans’ rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, a belief for which he willingly went to prison on several occasions. The campaign led to the establishment of the Speakers’ Corner as we know it today. He was also a firm defender of workers’ rights.

“Members of the SDP mourn his demise. We honour his contribution to the party and, more importantly, to the struggle for democracy in Singapore. We send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Read the party’s statement in full here:

“Mr Gandhi Ambalam, former chairman of the SDP, has died. He passed away last night due to cardiac arrest.

“Mr Gandhi was the party’s chair from 2007 to 2011. He stood as a candidate in the 1997 and 2001 general elections at the Jalan Besar GRC and Jurong GRC respectively.

“Prior to his joining the opposition, Mr Gandhi was Chief Editor of News and later Executive Producer of the Current Affairs section at then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now MediaCorp TV).

“He later joined the now-defunct Singapore Monitor in the mid-1980s. During his stint with the newspaper, he had sought to interview members of the opposition.

“Disenchanted, Mr Gandhi left the media industry in Singapore after the Monitor was closed down and became a staunch advocate for freedom of the press.

“He had helped with the publication of the Demokrat, the predecessor of The New Democrat, the SDP’s newspaper before joining the SDP in 1994. He retired from politics in 2011.

“Mr Gandhi was an integral part of a series of protests for Singaporeans’ rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, a belief for which he willingly went to prison on several occasions. The campaign led to the establishment of the Speakers’ Corner as we know it today. He was also a firm defender of workers’ rights.

“Members of the SDP mourn his demise. We honour his contribution to the party and, more importantly, to the struggle for democracy in Singapore. We send our deepest condolences to his family.”

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