ESM Goh set to stand again in Marine Parade GRC

ESM Goh Chok Tong (second from left) said on his Facebook page yesterday that the "likely" Marine Parade GRC team for the next election will include (from left) Mr Seah Kian Peng, Mr Goh, Mr Edwin Tong, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, and Ministe
ESM Goh Chok Tong (second from left) said on his Facebook page yesterday that the "likely" Marine Parade GRC team for the next election will include (from left) Mr Seah Kian Peng, Mr Goh, Mr Edwin Tong, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin. Mr Goh, 74, said residents and many others have urged him to stay on. He would explain his decision at the GRC's National Day dinner next week.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong looks set to be in the team that will contest in Marine Parade GRC, where he has been a Member of Parliament for almost 40 years.

Mr Goh, 74, said this on his Facebook page yesterday, in a caption to a photograph that showed him among the five people who he said are "likely to be the MP (Marine Parade) GRC team'' for the coming general election.

His remarks came as two opposition parties, including the Workers' Party (WP), declared that they want to contest in the GRC.

Mr Goh, Singapore's second prime minister, also said in the Facebook post that a few friends had suggested that he retire "as I have done enough for the country".

"But Marine Parade residents and many others urge me to stay on. They say the country and Marine Parade still need me."

He said he will explain his decision at the GRC's National Day dinner on Friday next week.

In the 2011 General Election, the People's Action Party (PAP) team in Marine Parade GRC won 56.6 per cent of the vote against the National Solidarity Party (NSP). It was the PAP's second-lowest winning percentage in a GRC.The fight this time round is shaping up to be no less tough. WP and NSP are adamant about contesting there, said sources.

Political observers said Mr Goh staying on will give the PAP team a boost. Former Nominated MP Eugene Tan, who is a resident of Marine Parade GRC, said: "He still has a strong and popular following on the ground. His candidacy will provide significant heft, experience, and tactical nous for the PAP's campaign in the next GE."

He added: "The next GE may well be ESM Goh's last, and that may just spur voters to give the PAP team resounding support."

Three of the other four in Mr Goh's Facebook picture are Marine Parade MPs: Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan- Jin and veteran backbenchers Fatimah Lateef and Seah Kian Peng. The last is Mr Edwin Tong of Moulmein-Kallang GRC, which will be dissolved at the polls. He will likely replace Ms Tin Pei Ling, whose MacPherson ward will be carved out as a single seat.

Said Mr Goh: "At my request, (the) party sent Edwin Tong to Marine Parade GRC to be tested for Joo Chiat."

Joo Chiat, a closely contested single seat in the 2011 election, will be absorbed into Marine Parade GRC. Its current MP Charles Chong is expected to contest single-seat Punggol East, held by the WP. On Sunday, Mr Tong went to a National Day dinner in Joo Chiat. Yesterday, Mr Tan posted about it on Facebook: "Appreciate the hospitality shown to both ESM and myself! We'd miss Charles but welcome Edwin Tong, who will get to know all of you better, along with us in the team."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'ESM Goh set to stand again in Marine Parade GRC'. Print Edition | Subscribe