The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) held its first meeting on Tue evening (5 Nov), during former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Steve Chia was appointed as the party’s secretary-general.
Chia’s ascent to the post marks the passing of SPP’s leadership from veteran leader Chiam See Tong, the latter of whom sustained a political career for over four decades as an MP for Potong Pasir from 1984 to 2011.
The appointment, among several others such as Jose Raymond as the party’s chairman and Ariffin Sha as assistant secretary-general, was made following the formation of the CEC at SPP’s ordinary party conference on 17 Oct.
Commenting on his appointment as party chief, Chia expressed his gratitude towards Chiam “for his many years of mentorship and guidance in Parliament”, and for providing guidance to him while Chia served as an NCMP from 2001 to 2006 under the Singapore Democratic Alliance previously.
“He [Chiam] has been a beacon in my life, and this is truly an honour for me to be given the task of taking over his appointment at the SPP.
“This has been a smooth and stable transition for the new team, and we are looking forward to working together as a new team, in helping to continue the legacy of the SPP,” said Chia.
Chia also previously held the position of secretary-general in the National Solidarity Party.
Raymond, who currently serves as chief strategy officer of communications firm Spin Worldwide and deputy chairman of the Chiam See Tong Sports Foundation, said: “We have a lot of work ahead of us as a collective leadership … It is immaterial what positions we hold within the party, we must always work together as a team.”
“It is our duty and responsibility to carry on the work of Mr and Mrs [Lina] Chiam, and the values of SPP – of being loyal to the country, of bringing good policy ideas to the table, to help people in need, to be their voices and to always be their ray of hope,” he added.
In a Facebook post today, Raymond also said that he had “never imagined that this day would ever come, to be named as Chairman of the Singapore People’s Party, to continue to work and legacy of Mr Chiam See Tong”.
“I was at Westlake Secondary School on 22 December 1984 when Mr Chiam was elected, and as a young teenager was helping my father distribute manifestos in Potong Pasir during the 1988 GE.
“Mr Chiam helped put a roof over our heads when we were down and out.
“It is my duty now to pay it forward,” he said.
Mrs Chiam previously held the position of chairman in SPP. However, she remains a part of the party’s CEC after Raymond’s appointment.
Stating that the current transition has been “very smooth”, Mrs Chiam is optimistic that the CEC members “will work very hard to continue the legacy and the work of SPP, and to serve the people of Singapore”.
“On behalf of Mr Chiam, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and hope that they will continue to support the new leadership team as we continue to serve – for the nation, for the people,” she added.
SPP contested the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency and three Single Member Constituencies in the last General Election in 2015. However, the party did not win any seats.