Singapore People's Party

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Singapore People's Party
Parti Rakyat Singapura ڤرتي رعيت سيڠاڤورا
新加坡人民党 Xīnjiāpō Rénmín Dǎng
சிங்கப்பூர் மக்கள் கட்சி
Ciṅkappūr Makkaḷ Kaṭci
Chairman Lina Chiam
Secretary-General Chiam See Tong
Founded 21 November 1994 (21 November 1994)
Headquarters 1 Siang Kuang Ave
Singapore 347919
Ideology Liberalism,
Social liberalism,
Liberal democracy
Political position Centre-left
Colours White, red
Parliament
0 / 101
Website
http://www.spp.org.sg/

The Singapore People's Party (abbrev: SPP; simplified Chinese: 新加坡人民党; traditional Chinese: 新加坡人民黨) is a liberal 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]

The 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). For two years, Sin was the stand-in pro-tem leader of the party, until Chiam joined the party and became its leader in December 1996, after 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 (he had previously represented the same constituency as an SDP MP).

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 Worker's 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 Worker's Party in Aljunied GRC. The role of de facto leader of the opposition in Parliament therefore passed from Chiam to the Worker's Party leader Low Thia Khiang.

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 Reform Party set out for joining the alliance, but the terms of entry were opposed by other members of the SDA's Council 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 members of the SDA's Council to question whether he was able to properly fulfil his role of Chairman of the alliance.

On 28 February 2011, the SDA's Council voted to relieve Chiam of his role as Chairman, however, the Council stressed that they still hoped to field Chiam as a candidate at the next general election. Chiam had earlier announced that he planned to stand in a Group Representation Constituency rather than in the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency at the next general election. Two days later, on 2 March 2011, Chiam announced that the Singapore People's Party was 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]

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]

In the Singapore General Election 2011, Lina Chiam (Lina Loh Woon Lee), the wife of Chiam See Tong was the SPP candidate that contested the Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency.[3] This had been Chiam See Tong's former constituency for almost 27 years. This 2011 parliamentary candidacy was a first for Lina Chiam, although she had tirelessly campaigned with her husband over the years in many general elections in Singapore, including Cairnhill and Potong Pasir constituencies.

Her husband Chiam See Tong was the SPP candidate that contested for Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency[4] for the first time with Benjamin Pwee, Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, Wilfred Leung and Lee Yeong Wee.[5] They faced the incumbent PAP team made up of Wong Kan Seng, Dr Ng Eng Hen, Josephine Teo, Zainudin Nordin, Hri Kumar.[6]

None of the SPP's candidates in the 2011 general election attained a majority in any constituency they contested. The People's Action Party won the seats of Hong Kah North, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Chiam See Tong's former seat of Potong Pasir. 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. Potong Pasir SMC was lost by Lina Chiam with the narrowest margin of 0.72% or 114 votes.[7] Lina Chiam polled the highest amongst all losing candidates of all opposition parties in the Singapore General Election 2011. As such, Lina Chiam was entitled to take up a seat as a Non-constituency Member of Parliament and she accepted the seat.

In the Singapore General Election 2015, the SPP lost in all the seats it contested. It also lost ground in its former stronghold of Potong Pasir SMC, where Mrs Lina Chiam managed to secure 33.59% of the valid votes, down from the 49.6% she had garnered in the previous general election.

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, channelnewsasia.com, 2 March 2011
  2. ^ Chiam pulls party out of alliance, Today, 3 March 2011
  3. ^ [1] Potong Pasir residents for Lina Chiam, 30 April 2011.
  4. ^ [2], SPP Rally at Bishan Stadium, 2 May 2011
  5. ^ [3] SPP's Fifth Rally at Bishan Stadium, 2011
  6. ^ [4] The New Paper 13 August 2015
  7. ^ "Lina Chiam wants to return to Potong Pasir". The Straits Times. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 

External links[edit]