PAP elder Goh Chok Tong steps down after 44 years in Singapore politics

Goh Chok Tong speaks at a Marine Parade National Day Dinner in 2019 as Emeritus Senior Minister. Photo: Goh Chok Tong/Facebook
Goh Chok Tong speaks at a Marine Parade National Day Dinner in 2019 as Emeritus Senior Minister. Photo: Goh Chok Tong/Facebook

One of Singapore’s longest-serving politicians is retiring from politics as the city-state swings into a new election cycle.

Goh Chok Tong’s resignation from parliament was announced today by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said he’d accepted it from his senior colleague in the ruling People’s Action Party. The 79-year-old, who represented Marine Parade for 44 years, said he made the decision after deciding not to run in next month’s election.

“As Parliament has now been dissolved, I write to inform you that I have decided not to stand in the coming General Elections. Having served as Member of Parliament for Marine Parade for over four decades, I make this decision after much thought and with a heavy heart,” Goh’s resignation letter read. 

Goh went on to endorse the former chief executive officer of IHH Healthcare, Tan See Leng, to succeed him. Tan was unveiled by PAP this morning as one of its first-time candidates.

Goh also showed support for Lee’s plans to form Singapore’s fourth generation of leadership led by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, adding that the city-state should start looking ahead to the fifth generation to follow. 

Goh even shared a photo from his first winning campaign back in 1976. 

“It is always sad to end one phase of your life and start another. When the PAP asked me to stand for elections in 1976, I agreed because I had benefitted [sic] from a good government,” the post read. “I have journeyed together with Marine Parade for 44 years – 8 years more than the first 36 years of my life before duty called.”

He said his district has grown from a barren new estate to a “Great, Gracious, Generous and Green’ home.”

Lee said Goh had an “extraordinary political journey,” starting from when he was 35 years old.

“I am forever personally indebted to Chok Tong, who brought me into politics. Ours was a fruitful comradeship that spanned the entirety of my years in politics and most of his – a close friendship between two prime ministers that would be the envy of many countries,” Lee wrote online with a photo of both of them meeting.

Goh was also Singapore’s second prime minister before Lee took over in 2004. The late Lee Kuan Yew was the first prime minister.

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