Singapore People's Party

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Singapore People's Party

Parti Rakyat Singapura
新加坡人民党
சிங்கப்பூர் மக்கள் கட்சி
ChairmanLina Chiam
Secretary-GeneralChiam See Tong
Founded21 November 1994 (21 November 1994)
Headquarters28 Sin Ming Lane #03-142 Midview City
Singapore 573972
IdeologyLiberalism
Social liberalism
Liberal democracy
Political positionCentre-left
ColoursWhite, red
Parliament
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The Singapore People's Party (abbrev: SPP; simplified Chinese: 新加坡人民党; traditional Chinese: 新加坡人民黨; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் மக்கள் கட்சி) is a political party in Singapore. The party's leader is opposition veteran Chiam See Tong, who previously founded the Singapore Democratic Party.

History and political development[edit]

SPP was founded on 21 November 1994 by Sin Kek Tong, who led a pro-Chiam See Tong faction out of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). Over two years, Sin stood as the pro-tem leader until Chiam jointed the party and assumer leadership in December 1996, at the time the Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 1997 general election. Chiam then became the party's first Member of Parliament (MP) when he won the constituency of Potong Pasir at the election, where he also did under the SDP banner.

Membership of the Singapore Democratic Alliance[edit]

In 2001, the SPP became a founding member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), along with the National Solidarity Party (NSP), the Singapore Justice Party (SJP) and the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS). Chiam became the founding Chairman of SDA, which aimed to provide a common grouping under which different opposition parties could stand as a political coalition in elections against the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).

At the 2001 general election, Chiam See Tong was returned to Parliament as MP for Potong Pasir. Though Chiam was the only SDA member to win an elected seat in Parliament, he was joined in Parliament by SDA member Steve Chia (then-leader of the National Solidarity Party) who became a non-constituency MP after securing 34.6% of the votes in the constituency of Chua Chu Kang, which was the highest percentage of the vote secured by a losing opposition candidate at the election. The result made Chiam the de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament, as the SDA had two representatives (Chiam and Chia), whereas the only other opposition party represented in Parliament (the Workers' Party) had only one (Hougang MP Low Thia Khiang).

At the 2006 general election, Chiam See Tong was again re-elected as MP for Potong Pasir. However, the SDA did not win any other seats. Steve Chia lost his position as a non-constituency MP. Though Chia increased his share of the vote in Chua Chu Kang to 39.63%, this was lower than the 43.9% gained by the Workers' Party in Aljunied GRC. The role of de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament therefore passed from Chiam to the Workers' Party leader Low.

Withdrawal from the Singapore Democratic Alliance[edit]

The NSP withdrew from the SDA in 2007, but the SPP remained in the alliance with the SJP and PKMS.

In 2010, Chiam tried to bring the Reform Party into the SDA. He reportedly accepted the conditions the RRP set out for joining the alliance, but the terms of entry were opposed by other members of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) who blocked the move. Chiam also suffered a mild stroke in 2008, following which he had to cut back on some of his political activities. This led some CEC members to question whether he was able to properly fulfil his role of Chairman of the alliance.

On 28 February 2011, the CEC voted to relieve Chiam of his role as chairman, however, the CEC stressed that they still hoped to field Chiam as a candidate at the next general election. Chiam had earlier announced his intention to stand in a Group Representation Constituency while leaving the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency to a successor at the next general election. Two days later, Chiam announced that the party would be withdrawing from the SDA, and that he would stand under the banner of the SPP instead of the SDA at the next general election.[1][2] Due to the withdrawal, Chiam's chairman role was succeeded to Desmond Lim, the leader of SJP.

At the elections, Chiam announced that he led his team to contest the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency[3][4][5], leaving his Potong Pasir ward to his wife, Lina Loh Woon Lee (or formerly known as Lina Chiam)[6]. This was Loh's debut in politics, although she had tirelessly campaigned with her husband over the years in many general elections in Singapore, including Cairnhill and Potong Pasir constituencies. Chairman Sin was also fielded to contest the newly-formed Hong Kah North SMC, a ward which was formerly part of the Hong Kah GRC (now Chua Chu Kang GRC).

After the polling day, the party was defeated in all the constituencies contested, including Potong Pasir which was reclaimed by the PAP for the first time since 1984; consequently, Chiam's defeat ended his 27-year tenure in Parliament. However, Loh was offered a post for the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) as a result of being the best performing opposition candidate (amongst unelected candidates) after narrowly lost the election 49.64% to the PAP's Sitoh Yih Pin's 50.36% (a margin of 114 votes).[7]

In overall terms, the SPP managed to clinch 41.42% (62,504 votes) of the total number of votes in the constituencies that it contested.

2015 General Elections[edit]

Ahead of the 2015 elections (due to be held 11 September), Chiam announced that he would not stand as a candidate for the elections, for the first time since his debut in 1976[8]. Another opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party, who led by Benjamin Pwee and Hamin Aliyas, joined SPP to strengthen its team contesting Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC[9]. New candidate Ravi Philemon replaced Chairman Sin as candidate for Hong Kah North, while Lina Chiam contested again in Potong Pasir.[10] Former NSP member Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss joined the party prior, and contested Mountbatten SMC just as Chong did in the 2011 elections.

However, the absence of Chiam in the election saw their party suffered another major setback, not only was the party failed to win a parliamentary seat, their scores were overseen by large swings towards the PAP, one of which was Potong Pasir, where Lina Chiam managed to secure only 33.59% of the valid votes, down from 49.64%. Comparing to the Workers' Party's performances (of East Coast GRC, Fengshan SMC and Punggol East SMC), this was not enough for Chiam to secure her NCMP seat for a second term, thus ending their party presence in Parliament since the party foundation. In terms of the party's overall vote, they garnered only 27.08% of the votes cast, a swing of -14.34% from the previous election.

On 1 March 2017, the party reported that former party's chairman Sin Kek Tong died from prostate cancer two days ago. [11]

In January 2018, it was reported that Jose Raymond, a former Press Secretary to Vivian Balakrishnan (who also served as Chief Executive of the Singapore Environment Council and current Minister of Foreign Affairs), had joined the SPP. Also in the same year, WP's Low Thia Khiang surpassed Chiam as the longest-serving opposition MP, having served in Parliament since 1991.

Objectives and policies[edit]

In the SPP National Day 2015 message, the party stated, "Singaporeans... deserve better job and education opportunities, to help them compete on a fair footing in this globalised city-state and abroad."

Electoral performance[edit]

Parliamentary elections[edit]

Due to a merger with the Singapore Democratic Alliance in the 2001 and 2006 elections, the number of candidates represented by the Singapore People's Party was displayed in parenthesis; the number of elected seats represented shown first was for the Singapore People's Party, and the next by SDA.

Election Seats up for election Seats contested by party Seats won by walkover Contested seats won Contested seats lost Total seats won Change Total votes Share of votes Popular vote Resulting Government
1997 83 3 0 1 2
1 / 83
Increase1 16,746 27.2% 2.3% Opposition
2001 84 13 (4) 0 1 (1) 11 (3)
1 / 84
1 / 84
Steady 75,428 27.6% 12.0% Largest Opposition
(+1 NCMP)
2006 84 20 (8) 0 1 (1) 19 (7)
1 / 84
1 / 84
Steady 145,628 32.5% 13.0% Opposition
2011 87 7 0 0 7
0 / 87
Decrease1 62,639 41.42% 3.11% No seats
(+1 NCMP)
2015 89 8 0 0 8
0 / 89
Steady 49,015 27.08% 2.17% No seats

Leadership[edit]

The party is led by Chiam See Tong, its Secretary-General. He has been leader since 1993, but Sin Kek Tong (d. 2017) was pro-tem leader from 1994 to 1996.

References[edit]

  1. ^ GE: SDA says Chiam pulling SPP out of alliance, Channel NewsAsia, 2 March 2011
  2. ^ Chiam pulls party out of alliance Archived 6 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Today, 3 March 2011
  3. ^ [1], SPP Rally at Bishan Stadium, 2 May 2011
  4. ^ [2] The New Paper 13 August 2015
  5. ^ [3] SPP's Fifth Rally at Bishan Stadium, 2011
  6. ^ [4] Potong Pasir residents for Lina Chiam, 30 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Lina Chiam wants to return to Potong Pasir". The Straits Times. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  8. ^ Ong, Justin (30 August 2015). "SPP, DPP announce candidates for joint Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC team". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  9. ^ Ong, Justin (29 August 2015). "DPP, SPP reach agreement on Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  10. ^ Hoe, Yeen Nie (22 August 2015). "SPP's Ravi Philemon to contest Hong Kah North SMC". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Opposition veteran Sin Kek Tong has died. We look back at his political career. - Mothership.SG".

External links[edit]