Lee Siew-Choh

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Dr.
Lee Siew-Choh
Dr Lee Siew Choh.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Queenstown
In office
30 May 1959 – 21 September 1963
Preceded by Lee Choon Eng
Succeeded by Jek Yeun Thong
Member of Parliament
for Non-Constituency
In office
3 September 1988 – 31 August 1991
Succeeded by J.B. Jeyaretnam
Personal details
Born 1 November 1917
Died 18 July 2002 (aged 84)
Nationality Singaporean
Political party Workers' Party (1988–1996),
Barisan Sosialis (1963-1988)
People's Action Party (1959-1961)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lee.

Dr. Lee Siew-Choh (Chinese: 李绍祖; pinyin: Lǐ Shàozǔ; 1 November 1917 - 18 July 2002) was a Singaporean politician and medical doctor. Initially a member of the People's Action Party (PAP), he became a leader of the breakaway Barisan Sosialis in 1961. After the Barisan Sosialis merged with the Workers' Party in 1988, Lee stood as a Workers' Party candidate in the 1988 general election and became Singapore's first Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), serving in this role until 1991.

Biography[edit]

Lee was born in Kuala Lumpur and was educated at Victoria Institution. He was trained as a medical doctor, but spent most of his life as a political leader.

Lee served in Singapore's Legislative Assembly as a representative of the PAP following the 1959 election. In 1960 he served as the Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs.

In 1961, Lee and 13 other members of the assembly broke away from the PAP and formed the Barisan Sosialis. Lee led the party in the 1963 elections, in which they won 13 of the 51 seats.

Lee was noted for his pro-leftist stance and oratory skills. In 1961, he made the longest speech in the history of Singapore's Legislative Assembly which lasted seven hours on the subject of Singapore's proposed merger with Malaya.

The Barisan Sosialis was Singapore's main opposition party at the time of the country's independence in 1965. But the party boycotted the first post-independence general election in 1968, allowing the PAP to win all 51 of the seats in Parliament. The Barisan Sosialis never managed to regain a significant role in Singapore's political scene after this, and in 1988, the party merged with the Workers' Party.

At the 1988 general election, Lee stood as a Workers' Party candidate in the Eunos Group Representation Constituency along with fellow party members Francis Seow and Mohd Khalit bin Mohd Baboo. They lost very narrowly to the PAP's team in the constituency by 49.1% of the votes to 50.9%. Only one opposition MP was returned to Parliament at that election (Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Party). As the Workers' Party's team in Eunos had garnered a higher percentage of the vote than any other opposition losing candidates, the party was eligible to nominate two members of its team from Eunos to become Non-constituency MPs. The party had refused to nominate NCMPs in the past, but this time they nominated Lee and Seow to become NCMPs. Seow was subsequently accused of espionage and fled to the United States before he could take up his NCMP seat. But Lee became Singapore's first-ever NCMP, serving until the 1991 general election. In Parliament, he raised several issues, including the Internal Security Act, living costs and welfare.

Lee again stood in Eunos GRC at the 1991 general election. He and fellow party members Jufrie Mahmood, Neo Choon Aik and Wee Han Kim again lost narrowly to the PAP's team by 47.6% of the votes to 52.4%. However no NCMP seats were offered following that election as the opposition parties won a combined total of four elected seats.

Lee left the Workers' Party in 1996, citing differences with the party's leader, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam.

Lee died of natural causes on 18 July 2002.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Lee Choon Eng
Member of Parliament for Queenstown
1959 – 1963
Succeeded by
Jek Yeun Thong
First
New office
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
1988 – 1991
Vacant
Title next held by
J.B. Jeyaretnam (1997 – 2001)