Singapore

Marine Parade residents, DPM Heng recall Mr Goh's contributions

A minimart owner, Madam Chua, 82, was shocked when told yesterday that Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong was retiring.

The Marine Parade resident was hoping he would contest the coming general election.

"He is very caring and takes good care of the elderly," she said. "His stepping down will sadden many residents."

She recalled vividly how Mr Goh came to her rescue in 1981 after she failed to get a permit to hire a maid.

Madam Chua had just moved to Marine Parade to start a provision shop business and needed a helper to take care of her two children.

Mr Goh, she said, helped write a letter to an agency to support her case and she got the permit.

Like Madam Chua, many residents in Marine Parade were expecting Mr Goh to stand again. "Marine Parade has always been a stronghold for PAP because of Goh Chok Tong," said Mr Marican A.J., 75, a resident of more than 30 years who saw the area develop into a mature estate.

"Mr Goh is a sentimental person. Instead of demolishing the old flats, he upgraded them. There are also more clinics to take care of the elderly living here," he added.

Mr Goh has been grooming Mr Tan See Leng, 55, to take over as chairman of the PAP branch in Marine Parade.

Mr Goh will remain chairman emeritus of the branch, and has also agreed to be appointed senior adviser to the People's Association on a pro bono basis.

In a Facebook post, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat recalled how Mr Goh, who was chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), gave him valuable advice during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Mr Heng, then MAS' managing director, was deliberating on whether to seek approval from then President SR Nathan for a $150 billion guarantee on all bank deposits in Singapore, to be backed by past reserves.

Mr Heng said he was glad to have Mr Goh's counsel.

"He taught us that we must face difficult decisions head-on. Having thought through the options, we must have the courage to do what is right," he wrote.

"It was a lesson that stayed with me and continues to guide much of my work."

Singapore Politics