All good things must come to an end, as they say.
That’s largely why McDonald’s only sells its Chocolate Pie and Prosperity Burger for a limited period.
That and because the world would run out of chocolate and black pepper otherwise.
This year, despite that pesky coronavirus roaming around the country, Singapore will have a General Election, with just 9 days until voters cast their ballots.
While we’ve seen many new faces enter the political arena, many others have bid goodbye after years and even decades of service.
20 MPs from PAP, that is. If you take into account the three from the Worker’s Party (WP), that number goes up to 23.
So, who’s retiring this year?
1. Yee Chia Hsing – Choa Chu Kang GRC (One Term)
In 2015, Yee was part of the PAP team that won Chua Chu Kang GRC, led by anchor minister Gan Kim Yong.
He entered politics when he became Branch Chairman of PAP’s Punggol East Branch in late 2014.
According to TODAYonline, Yee began voluntary work in 2008. After one term in Choa Chu Kang, Yee announced he’ll be retiring.
2. Ang Hin Kee – Ang Mo Kio GRC (Two Terms)
Ang Hin Kee has worked in several sectors throughout his career, including the Police, the Singapore Tourism Board, and Singapore Badminton Association.
Ang has been an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC from 7 May 2011, following the general election that year.
After two terms in Ang Mo Kio, his GRC team announced that he would be retiring this year.
Ang has been working at the National Taxi Association as its advisor since 2012.
3. Chia Shi-Lu – Tanjong Pagar GRC (Two Terms)
Chia Shi-Lu has somewhat of a dramatic entry into politics. In GE2011, Chia was pulled in at the last minute from the PAP’s reserve list after potential Tampines candidate Steve Tan withdrew.
Baey Yam Keng left Tanjong Pagar GRC to fill Steve Tan’s spot, and Chia filled the empty seat at Tanjong Pagar.
Chia was criticised in April for issuing reusable masks to the hawkers at Alexandra Village Hawker Centre during the circuit breaker, after which PAP suspended its walkabouts.
After serving Tanjong Pagar for two terms, the doctor announced he’ll be retiring this year.
4. Intan Azura Mokhtar – Ang Mo Kio GRC (Two Terms)
Intan Azura Mokhtar, who has a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in information studies from NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, began her career in the Young PAP.
Young PAP is the youth-wing of PAP.
She was part of the six-member PAP team led by PM Lee that contest in Ang Mo Kio GRC in GE 2011.
They won 69.33% of the votes and Intan became an MP.
But now, Intan has chosen to retire after two terms in Ang Mo Kio, saying she wants to focus more on her health, her family, and her personal and professional growth in the next half of her life.
5. Ong Teng Koon – Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC (Two Terms)
Ong Teng Koon was once part of a Marsling-Yew Tee GRC team that had President Halimah Yacob and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
This year, Wong announced that he’ll be joined by Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, Alex Yam, and newcomer Hany Soh – Ong’s replacement.
Yes, after two terms of serving residents in Marsling-Yew Tee GRC, Ong is retiring.
6. Zainal Bin Sapari – Pasir Ris – Punggol GRC (Two Terms)
Zainal Bin Sapari, who came from a family of seven, became the first person in his family to pursue a university education.
He later attained a Masters of Arts in Educational Management from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Now, after a nearly a decade of serving in his GRC, Zainal announced he would be retiring.
“I am making way to give others the opportunity to serve you if the person is elected”, he said in a Facebook post.
7. Fatimah Lateef – Marine Parade GRC (Three Terms)
Fatimah Lateef, who is currently a senior consultant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Singapore General Hospital, was first elected to parliament at the 2006 general election as an MP for Marine Parade GRC.
The team, led by former Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, won in an uncontested walkover.
After representing the ward of Geylang Serai for three terms, Lateef announced she’d be stepping down this year.
8. Lee Bee Wah – Nee Soon GRC (Three Terms)
Lee Bee Wah, who’s a Malaysian-born Singaporean engineer, has served in two different GRCs since she entered politics in 2006.
Lee was part of the PAP team that was led by PM Lee that won Ang Mo Kio GRC in GE2006 with 66% of the votes
After serving Ang Mo Kio from 2006 to 2011, Lee served in Nee Soon GRC from 2011-2020.
She, too, has stepped down from her post this year.
Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam called Lee a “tremendous asset” to him, and said that she “sets the standard for other MPs”.
He added that Lee will be missed for her speeches in Parliament, with her “direct” manner of speaking.
9. Lee Yi Shyan – East Coast GRC (Three Terms)
Former MP Lee Yi Shyan has been in public service for some 35 years, according to The Straits Times.
Once CEO of International Enterprise Singapore, Lee was elected as an MP after in East Coast GRC in the 2011 General Election.
He has served as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and at the Ministry of National Development.
In 2012, he was promoted to Senior Minister of State but stepped down three years later after suffering a mini-stroke.
Now, after three terms in East Coast GRC, Lee Yi Shyan will not be contesting.
10. Sam Tan – Radin Mas SMC (Three Terms)
Once the CEO of Business China, Tan entered politics in the 2006 general election season at Tanjong Pagar GRC, which ended in a walkover.
In 2011, the district within Tanjong Pagar GRC was carved out as Radin Mas SMC, and Tan beat out veteran Yip Yew Weng of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) with 67% of the votes.
In October 2015, it was announced that Tan would be Minister of State for Manpower.
Five years later, after three terms of public service, it was announced on 29 June 2020 that Tan will step down from Radin Mas SMC.
11. Teo Ser Luck – Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC (Three Terms)
Teo has worked in various sectors, as well as companies like Nike Singapore and Coopers & Lybrand.
in 2007, Teo was recognised as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum for his contributions to the business and community services sectors.
Teo entered politics in the 2006 General Election as part of the PAP team contesting in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
After three terms in his GRC, Teo has retired from his post.
12. Cedric Foo Chee Keng – Pioneer SMC (Four Terms)
Cedric Foo Chee Keng, who has a Master’s degree in Ocean Systems Management by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), entered politics way back in 2001 when buses looked like this:
Yes, it was a long time ago.
Foo was elected as an MP in West Coast GRC, in the Pioneer Division and was appointed Singapore’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence in 2002 and in the Ministry of National Development in 2004.
He retained his seat in GE2006 and was nominated as the PAP candidate for the new Pioneer SMC after Pioneer Division was re-designated a single-member constituency.
He won 60% of the vote in 2011, and 76% in 2015.
After nearly two decades as an MP, Foo has stepped down from his post.
13. Khaw Boon Wan – Sembawang GRC (Four Terms)
This man probably needs no introduction, because he’s the man people often look at with squinted eyes whenever there’s an MRT breakdown.
After 42 years of public service, Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan announced he will be retiring from politics and will not be contesting in GE2020.
According to Mothership, Khaw decided to retire after his bypass surgery in 2010, which he described as a “traumatic, life-changing event.”
Khaw, who was born in Malaysia, moved to Singapore in 1977 and began his career in the Singapore Civil Service, working at the Ministry of Health.
After holding several posts at the National University Hospital as well as two other hospitals, served as the Principal Private Secretary to then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong from 1992 to 1995.
Khaw’s first General Election was in 2001 when he contested in Tanjong Pagar GRC and was elected as an MP.
In total, Khaw has served four terms in Tanjong Pagar GRC and Sembawang GRC.
He has also served as Minister for Health, Minister for National Development, and Minister for Transport.
On Friday (26 June), Khaw announced his retirement from politics with a little pun.
14. Lim Swee Say – East Coast GRC (5 Terms)
Another political veteran, Lim Swee Say entered politics in 1997 when he was 43 years old. He contested in Tanjong Pagar GRC which was led by the late Lee Kuan Yew and won in a walkover.
He was subsequently elected as an MP in Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC in 2001 and 2006 and moved to East Coast GRC in 2011 where PAP won with 54% of the vote.
After nearly 23 years in politics, including his tenure as Minister for Manpower from 2015 to 2018, it was announced that Lim would be retiring from politics.
15. Lily Neo – Jalan Besar GRC (5 Terms)
Born in Indonesia, Lily Neo relinquished her Indonesian citizenship and has been a Singaporean for more than 35 years.
Neo’s first post as MP was for Kim Seng within Kreta Ayer-Tanglin GRC after the 1997 General Election.
She served as an MP for Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng in Jalan Besar GRC for three consecutive terms (2001, 2006 & 2015) – she moved to Tanjong Pagar GRC in 2011 before switching back.
She was successfully elected in Jalan Besar GRC in GE2015 after her ward was transferred back to the GRC.
After nearly 24 years in politics, Neo announced she would be retiring from politics.
16. Teo Ho Pin – Bukit Panjang SMC (5 Terms)
Before he entered politics, Teo Ho Pin was a Senior Lecturer in NUS after receiving a Bachelor of Science with honours in Building from NUS.
Teo was first elected as an MP in 1996 in Sembawang GRC.
He subsequently served as an MP for Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC from 2001 to 2006, after which he was elected for three consecutive terms in Bukit Panjang SMC.
After serving residents for over two decades, it was announced that Teo would be stepping down from his post.
17. Yaacob Ibrahim – Jalan Besar GRC (5 Terms)
Dr Yaacob bin Ibrahim started his long tenure as an MP in Jalan Besar GRC and Moulmein-Kallang GRC.
He became the Minister of Environment and Water Resources in 2004 and Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts in 2011.
Yaacob stepped down from the cabinet in 2018 and retired from Parliament after 23 years as an MP.
18. Lim Hng Kiang – West Coast GRC (6 Terms)
As a student, Lim Hng Kiang was awarded a President’s Scholarship and Singapore Armed Forces Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, where he completed a degree in engineering in 1976.
After a stint in the SAF, Lim was elected in 1991 as an MP in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Since 1997, Lim has been serving in West Coast GRC.
Until now, of course.
Lee has served as Minister for National Development and was our Minister for Health during the SARS outbreak.
He also became the Minister for Trade and Industry in 2004.
He stepped down from the cabinet in 2018 and announced his retirement from politics this year.
19. Charles Chong – Punggol East SMC (7 Terms)
One of the longest-servers on the list, Charles Chong has served as an MP for a whopping 32 years.
When he was first elected as an MP, Cristiano Ronaldo was just three years old.
Chong has served in several constituencies since 1988, including:
- Sembawang GRC from 1988 to 1991
- Eunos GRC between 1991 and 1996
- Pasir Ris GRC in Elias from 1997 to 2001
- Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC from 2001 to 2011
- Joo Chiat SMC from 2011 to 2015
- Punggol East SMC from 2015 to 2020
That is one long list.
After a long political career, the 67-year-old announced his retirement from politics this year.
20. Goh Chok Tong – Marine Parade GRC (10 Terms)
No one on this list has been in politics longer than this man.
Yes, it’s our former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Aside from serving as the 2nd Secretary-General for PAP, Goh has served as an MP for a whopping 44 years.
His tenure as an MP started in the 1976 general election when he was just 35.
He represented Marine Parade SMC for 12 years and then Marine Parade GRC for another 32 years after it was absorbed.
After 14 years of being Prime Minister, Goh stepped down in 2004 and became Senior Minister in the Cabinet of Lee Hsien Loong.
Goh was given the honorary title of “Emeritus Senior Minister” in 2011 and even has his own wax figure in Madame Tussauds Singapore museum.
On 25 June, Goh announced his retirement from politics in a Facebook post, after 44 years of service in Parliament.
21. Png Eng Huat (Hougang SMC) (One Term)
Png Eng Huat has been in politics for 14 years, after joining the Worker’s Party in 2006.
Png won the 2012 Hougang by-election, beating out PAP’s Desmond Choo with 62% of the votes.
He was subsequently appointed Vice-Chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council. Before the 2020 General Election, Png announced that he would not be contesting in the 2020 Singaporean general election, but would still remain active in politics.
22. Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) (One Term)
Chen Show Mao, who was born in Taiwan, moved to Singapore at the age of 11.
He has degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford, and joined WP instead of the PAP because he believed that “the best way to ensure good governance for Singapore is through the growth of a competitive opposition that offers a credible alternative to the party in government”.
In the lead up to the 2011 General Election, several PAP leaders questioned whether Chen would be able to relate to Singaporeans having spent most of his career in the United States and China.
But Chen and his WP team ended up winning the Aljunied GRC with 54% of the votes, making electoral history by being winning the first GRC as an opposition party.
Just like Png, it was announced that Chen would not be contesting in GE2020 but would remain in politics.
23. Low Thia Khiang (Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC) (6 Terms)
Low Thia Khiang, one of the most famous faces of the Worker’s Party, joined WP 38 years ago in 1982.
Low became the party’s Secretary-General in 2001, replacing J. B. Jeyaretnam.
Low was elected as MP in Hougang SMC for four consecutive terms from 1991, before moving to Aljunied GRC in 2011.
Low led the WP to a historic victory in GE2011, winning Aljunied GRC with 54% of the votes, and retained their seats in the next election.
In April this year, Low was hospitalised in an ICU unit in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after sustaining a head injury due to a bad fall.
Low managed to recover, but along with Png and Chen, announced that he would not be contesting in GE2020.
Pritam Singh has since taken over as Secretary-General of WP.
Low will remain in the party as a mentor and advisor.
As my colleague said, a General Election without Low Thia Khiang is like a plate of chicken rice without the chicken.
Lest you’ve forgotten, polling day will be on next Friday (10 July). So what happens if you didn’t vote? Would you be jailed? Would you be barred from buying bubble tea for the next five years? Watch this video and you’ll know the consequences:
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