Singapore

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong retires from politics

In letter thanking the Emeritus Senior Minister for 44 years of service, PM Lee notes his contribution to Singapore's growth

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 79, is retiring from politics after 44 years as a Member of Parliament.

Mr Goh, who was prime minister from 1990 to 2004, announced his decision in a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday. PM Lee has accepted his decision.

In his reply yesterday, PM Lee thanked Mr Goh for a lifetime of distinguished service, on behalf of all Singaporeans.

Mr Goh said it had been his greatest honour and privilege to have served the People's Action Party, residents of Marine Parade, as well as Singapore and Singaporeans for the past 44 years. He added that he would continue to contribute in other ways.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Goh said: "Residents, party comrades and grassroots leaders have urged me to stand once more in the coming GE. It is with a heavy heart that I have decided not to. Although I am still healthy, I worry I will not have the same energy to serve after I become an octogenarian next year (sounds old, doesn't it?). It will not be fair to you."

Mr Goh assured residents that Marine Parade will be in "very capable hands" under Dr Tan See Leng, 55, former group chief executive and managing director of IHH Healthcare.

Dr Tan, who was one of 11 new candidates unveiled by the PAP yesterday, will succeed Mr Goh as PAP Marine Parade Branch chairman.

In his reply to Mr Goh's letter, PM Lee said he is glad Mr Goh's succession is well in hand.

Said PM Lee: "When you were first elected in 1976, Marine Parade was newly reclaimed land - a large but blank canvas on which our hopes and dreams could be projected. Today, those dreams have become reality. Marine Parade has become a vibrant waterfront town filled with warmth, which people of all ages are proud to call home.

"The story of Marine Parade is the story of Singapore - out of nothing, we created something special. You made that happen."

PM Lee acknowledged how Mr Goh had continued to contribute to Singapore's growth after he stepped down as PM, from inculcating the values and ethics of public service in younger MPs to guiding the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to enhance the resilience of the banking system, strengthen links with international partners, promote innovation, and protect retail consumers.

He also recognised Mr Goh's efforts in building good relationships with foreign leaders which in turn created opportunities for Singapore businesses.

An economist by training, Mr Goh joined the Government's Administrative Service in 1964 and joined national shipping company Neptune Orient Lines in 1969, serving as its managing director from 1973 to 1977.

FIRST ELECTION

He entered politics in 1976 and was first elected to Parliament as MP for Marine Parade in the 1976 General Election.

He was re-elected in nine subsequent general elections, and served as Minister for Trade and Industry, Health and Defence between 1979 and 1990. He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, and succeeded Mr Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore's prime minister in November 1990.

Mr Goh relinquished the post of PM in August 2004 to Mr Lee Hsien Loong, and remained in the Cabinet as Senior Minister.

He stepped down from the Cabinet alongside Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew after the 2011 General Election, and was given the title of Emeritus Senior Minister. He was also appointed Senior Adviser to MAS.

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Singapore Politics