PHOTOS: 10 highlights from Chiam See Tong’s 40 years in politics

Chiam, now 84, defended his post as Potong Pasir MP for 27 years.
The Straits Times

Over four decades after his first election campaign as an independent candidate, opposition veteran Chiam See Tong stepped down on Wednesday (Oct 16) as head of the Singapore People’s Party, The Straits Times reported.

The Singapore People's Party held its Ordinary Party Conference (OPC) yesterday evening. At the OPC, the following 12…

Posted by Singapore People's Party on Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The former lawyer and ACS alumnus was once Singapore’s longest-serving opposition Member of Parliament (MP). Workers Party’s Low Thia Khiang is now the longest-serving, with 28 years under his belt.

Business Insider rounded up 10 highlights from Chiam’s political career:


1976: Lawyer Chiam See Tong (right), 41, decides to enter politics and contest in the Cairnhill constituency as an independent candidate.

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New Nation

He has nothing but his white Volkswagen Beetle and a loudspeaker, The Straits Times (ST) reports.

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Nanyang (S)

Chiam’s first-ever rally is a “lively” Q&A session attended by about 100 people, ST says.

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New Nation

Chiam eventually loses to People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Lim Kim San, but is “elated” by the 3,726 votes he received and inspired to form a political party, ST reports.

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New Nation

1979: Chiam contests in the Potong Pasir by-elections as an independent candidate.

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New Nation

This time around, his rallies draw crowds of 1,000, according to now-defunct newspaper New Nation.

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New Nation

New Nation quotes Chiam as saying that Singapore will become more bureaucratic, more intolerant, and more authoritarian if no opposition candidates are voted into Parliament.

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New Nation

He loses to PAP candidate Howe Yoon Chong, but thanks residents and promises to contest in the next election.

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New Nation

1980: Chiam (left) creates the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and is appointed secretary-general.

He loses the Potong Pasir by-election again.

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The Straits Times

1984: Chiam (centre) finally becomes Potong Pasir MP, and defends his title for a spectacular 27 years.

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The Straits Times

1985: Chiam joins J.B. Jeyaratnam in Parliament as Singapore’s second opposition MP.

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The Straits Times

1993: Chiam is kicked out from SDP and sues its leaders for defamation after an incident with protege Chee Soon Juan, ST reports.

He wins S$120,000 in damages.

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Chiam (left) with SDP members Ling How Doong (centre) and Chee Soon Juan (right).
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New Paper

1996: Chiam joins the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and becomes its leader.

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The Straits Times

2001: He goes on to form the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), an alliance of opposition parties, and is appointed SDA chairman.

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Lianhe Zaobao

2011: Chiam is removed as SDA chairman after suffering two strokes.

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The Straits Times

For the first time in decades, Chiam does not contest in Potong Pasir for the 2011 General Election, but against a PAP team in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

SPP loses both constituencies.

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Lianhe Zaobao

2015: Chiam announces he is not running in the 2015 General Election.

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Lianhe Zaobao

2019: Due to declining health, Chiam, 84, steps down as SPP secretary-general on Wednesday (Oct 16), ST reports.

He will remain as a party member, ST adds.

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The Straits Times

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