Sylvia Lim

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Sylvia Lim
Sylvia Lim at a Workers' Party general election rally, Bedok Stadium, Singapore - 20110430 (cropped).jpg
Constituency Aljunied GRC
Chairman of the Workers' Party
Assumed office
Preceded by Tan Bin Seng
Member of Parliament
for Aljunied GRC (Serangoon)
Assumed office
7 May 2011
Preceded by Lim Hwee Hua (PAP)
Majority 12,460 (9.42%)
Member of Parliament
for Non-Constituency
In office
6 May 2006 – 7 May 2011
Preceded by Steve Chia
Succeeded by Lina Chiam
Yee Jenn Jong
Gerald Giam
Personal details
Born Sylvia Lim Swee Lian
(1965-03-28) 28 March 1965 (age 51)
Nationality Singaporean
Political party Workers' Party (2003)
Alma mater National University of Singapore
University College London
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer, law lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lim.

Sylvia Lim Swee Lian (simplified Chinese: 林瑞莲; traditional Chinese: 林瑞蓮; pinyin: Lín Ruìlián; born 28 March 1965) is a Singaporean politician, lawyer and academic. She is currently a member of the opposition Workers' Party (WP) and an elected Member of Parliament (MP) representing Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC). She is in charge of Serangoon division.[2] Lim previously served in the Singapore Police Force and taught as a law lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic. She is currently a senior associate in Peter Low LLC.

Education and early career[edit]

Lim had her early education at CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, CHIJ St Joseph's Convent and National Junior College. She then read law at the National University of Singapore (NUS), graduating with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1988. She obtained a Master of Laws from the University of London (University College London) in 1989,[1] and was called to the Bar in Singapore in 1991.

During her undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Lim did volunteer work with the Spastic Children's Association, Salvation Army Home for the Aged and University College Hospital. She later did voluntary editorial work for the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme of the Law Society of Singapore.

In 1991, Lim joined the Singapore Police Force for three years as a police inspector. She initially did investigation work at the Central Police Division Headquarters, and then became a staff officer under the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).[3][third-party source needed]

Lim joined the law firm M/s Lim & Lim in 1994. She handled both civil and criminal cases in the High Court, Subordinate Courts and Juvenile Court between 1994 and 1998.

Lim joined Temasek Polytechnic in 1998 as a law lecturer. She also became the Manager of Professional Development and Manager of Continuing Education and Training at the polytechnic's School of Business. Her main areas of teaching and research are in civil and criminal procedure, criminal justice and private security. During her time at Temasek Polytechnic, Lim contributed to the volume on Criminal Procedure for Halsbury's Laws of Singapore (2003), a legal practitioners' reference series, and has also collected and published primary research on private security in Singapore.

In March 2006, Temasek Polytechnic modified its staffing policies to enable Lim to run as a candidate in the general election without having to resign her teaching position at the institution.[4]

Political career[edit]

Lim joined the Workers' Party (WP) in 2001 and quickly rose to become the Chairman of the party in 2003.[citation needed]

2006 General Election[edit]

At the 2006 general election, Lim was a member of the WP team which contested the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC). The WP team lost to the team from the governing People's Action Party (PAP) by 58,593 votes (43.9%) to 74,843 (56.1%).[5] This was the highest percentage of the vote garnered by any losing opposition candidates in the election, and therefore meant that the WP was entitled to select one of its team members from Ajunied GRC to become a Non-constituency Member of Parliament. The party chose Lim to become its NCMP.[6]

During her term in Parliament, Lim spoke out against ministers' salaries, and also against means testing in hospitals, which resulted in the PAP deferring a decision on this for a period of two years from 2006 to 2008. In addition, she also called for a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax, arguing that it was a regressive tax, and urged the government to do more to help retrenched workers.[citation needed]

2011 General Election[edit]

In the 2011 general election, Lim again contested in Aljunied GRC, along with Muhamad Faisal Manap, Pritam Singh, Chen Show Mao and party leader Low Thia Khiang, who vacated his seat of Hougang to lead the charge in Aljunied. Lim was returned as an elected Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC after her team won 54.71%[1] of the votes (54.72% including overseas votes), the first time that an opposition party won a GRC since the system's introduction on 1 June 1988. In addition, the defeat of the incumbent PAP team marked the first time in Singapore's electoral history that a serving cabinet minister lost his seat.[citation needed] She has been assigned to look after the Serangoon ward previously held by the PAP's Lim Hwee Hua and has also been appointed Chairman of the combined Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.

Lim's victory also made her the first female opposition MP in Singapore's post-independence history.[citation needed]

One week after the election, she announced that she would be resigning from her lecturing job at Temasek Polytechnic after 12 years of service. She said that her political activities had already led to her having to take significant time off from her teaching duties in the past, and that she did not think it would be fair to the polytechnic if she stayed on seeing as her Parliamentary duties would take up even more of her time.[7]

Since then she has returned to the legal profession and is now a senior associate with Peter Low LLC.[3][third-party source needed]

2015 General Election[edit]

In the Singaporean general election, 2015, Lim defended her ward against a new PAP team. Her team was returned to Parliament with a reduced majority of 50.96%.

Current appointments[edit]

Lim's current appointments are as follows:


External links[edit]

Political offices
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Steve Chia
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
Succeeded by
Lina Chiam
Yee Jenn Jong
Gerald Giam
Preceded by
Lim Hwee Hua
Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC
2011 – present