Former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), Steve Chia, has succeeded veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong as the secretary-general of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP).
The SPP announced yesterday (5 Nov) that its newly elected Central Executive Committee (CEC) had convened and elected the new slate of office-bearers. While Mr Chia has been made party chief, Jose Raymond, Williamson Lee and Ariffin Sha were made Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Assistant Secretary-General respectively.
Mario Ong Ming Hui and Shah Shahfie take on the roles of Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer while Eman Lim and Ng Theng Lim will serve as Organising Secretary and Assistant Organising Secretary, respectively.
Mrs Lina Chiam, Mr Chiam’s wife and the party’s immediate past chairman, now sits on the CEC as a member. Kathleen Cheong, Yong Seng Fatt and Jalil Wari round out the CEC as members.
Calling the SPP’s leadership renewal process a “smooth transition, ” Mrs Chiam said that she has confidence in the new office-bearers and that she trusts them to carry the SPP’s legacy forward.
Mrs Chiam added that she and Mr Chiam hope that the people will continue to support the new party leaders.
Revealing that Mr Chiam personally guided him into Parliament as an NCMP when they were both under the Singapore Democratic Alliance, Mr Chia thanked Mr Chiam for his many years of mentorship and said that it is an honour to have been chosen to succeed the veteran opposition leader.
Mr Chiam stepped down from SPP’s CEC last month and decided not to contest the party’s latest internal election for the first time in 23 years, effectively bringing his 40-year political career to an end.
84-year-old Mr Chiam first entered politics in 1976 and became Singapore’s second opposition politician ever to be elected to Parliament after J. B. Jeyaretnam of the Workers’ Party. Since 1976, he was re-elected to his Potong Pasir ward in each subsequent election until he left the ward to contest larger ground in 2011.
In the 2011 General Election, after 27 years of serving the Potong Pasir ward, Mr Chiam led a team to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC while his wife, Lina Chiam, contested Potong Pasir. The SPP lost both wards and was not able to win either ward in the 2015 General Election – the first election since 1976 that Mr Chiam did not personally contest.
Although Mr Chiam remains an SPP member, his absence from the party’s latest CEC election election signals his retirement from active politics.
Mrs Chiam told reporters, last month: “Mr Chiam has given to politics for 40 years already. It’s time for him to have a rest. I think he has given all what he can for Singaporeans, what he can do to his ability.” -/TISG
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