Ling How Doong

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Ling How Doong
Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party
In office
Preceded by Fok Tai Loy
Succeeded by Gandhi Ambalam
Member of Parliament
for Bukit Gombak SMC
In office
31 August 1991 – 2 January 1997
Preceded by Dr. Seet Ai Mee
Succeeded by Ang Mong Seng
Majority 654 (2.8%)
Personal details
Born 1934
Singapore, Straits Settlements
Political party Singapore Democratic Party (1984-2007)
Profession Lawyer

Ling How Doong (simplified Chinese: 林孝谆; traditional Chinese: 林孝諄; pinyin: Lín Xiào Zhūn; born 1934) is a politician and lawyer from Singapore. A member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), he served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bukit Gombak from 1991 to 1997.

Political career[edit]

Ling was the Chairman of the SDP in 1991 when, in a surprise result, he defeated the incumbent MP from the governing People's Action Party (PAP), Dr Seet Ai Mee, to win the constituency of Bukit Gombak at the general election. Ling won 51.4% of the votes in the constituency to Dr Seet's 48.6%. Ling was one of three SDP MPs to be elected – with the party's leader Chiam See Tong retaining his seat in Potong Pasir, and Cheo Chai Chen winning in Nee Soon Central. The leader of the Workers' Party, Low Thia Khiang, was also elected in Hougang, giving the opposition parties a total of four seats. At the previous election, Chiam had been the only opposition MP to win a seat, so the results were seen as a significant success for the opposition.

In 1994, the SDP appointed Ling to take over from Chiam as the party's parliamentary leader after Chiam fell out with the rest of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC). Chiam resigned as the party's Secretary-General and was replaced by Dr Chee Soon Juan. After he publicly criticised them, the CEC attempted to expel Chiam from the party (which would have forced him to vacate his parliamentary seat), but he won a court case to prevent them from doing so on procedural grounds.

Ling hit the headlines in 1996 after Chiam whispered something into his ear during a debate in Parliament, to which Ling loudly responded "Don't talk cock!" (a Singlish phrase meaning "Don't speak nonsense").[1] Ling was formally censured by Parliament for using inappropriate language in the chamber as a result of this.

Chiam joined the Singapore People's Party (SPP) after Parliament was dissolved ahead of the election, was re-elected as Potong Pasir's MP representing his new party. However, Ling was defeated in his bid to be re-elected as MP for Bukit Gombak at the 1997 general election, losing to the PAP's Ang Mong Seng. Ling won 28.4% of the votes to Ang's 65.1%, with Syed Farid Wajidi from SPP taking 6.5% of the votes.[2][3] Cheo was also defeated in his re-election bid. The SDP was thus left with no seats in Parliament.

For the 2001 general election, Ling's old seat of Bukit Gombak was abolished following boundary changes. Ling stood in Cheo's former constituency of Nee Soon Central, and was defeated by the PAP's Ong Ah Heng. Ling received 21.5% of the votes to Ong's 78.5%.[4]

At the 2006 general election, Ling contested the seat of Bukit Panjang. He won 22.8% of the votes, losing to the PAP's Teo Ho Pin who gained 77.2%.[5] During the election campaign, he was threatened with a defamation lawsuit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as a result of an article published in the SDP's party newspaper. On 24 April 2006, Ling said that he would not apologise as he did not know about the article until it had been published.[6] However he eventually agreed to a settlement and issued an apology for the publication the article.[7]

Life outside politics[edit]

Ling was educated at Anglo-Chinese School and Nan Hua High School. He was called to the Bar in at the Middle Temple in London in 1972.

Ling has been a practicing lawyer since 1972.

Ling is married and has three sons.