Opposition veteran Sin, 72, dies

Mr Sin Kek Tong contested his first general election in 1988 under the SDP but left the party to set up the SPP in 1994.
Mr Sin Kek Tong contested his first general election in 1988 under the SDP but left the party to set up the SPP in 1994.

Opposition veteran Sin Kek Tong, who founded the Singapore People's Party (SPP) and contested six general elections in more than two decades in politics, died on Monday night.

He was 72. A relative told reporters at Mr Sin's wake at his Tiong Bahru block last night that he had prostate cancer.

Mr Sin garnered 41.2 per cent of the vote in his first election in 1988 under the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) banner, losing to Mr Goh Choon Kang of the People's Action Party.

He left the SDP and set up the SPP in 1994 after one of the most controversial splits in Singapore's modern political history. He did so with a breakaway faction of SDP members, who had supported Mr Chiam See Tong during his falling out with the SDP central executive committee, led by Mr Ling How Doong and Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Mr Chiam, who founded the SDP and was MP for Potong Pasir for 27 years until 2011, joined the SPP in 1996.

He and his wife Lina were at the wake.

Said Mr Chiam: "He was a loyal and faithful friend. He was a man of few words. He just went and set up the party. I was very touched by what he did."

Other opposition figures who paid their respects last night included National Solidarity Party president Sebastian Teo, People's Power Party (PPP) chief Goh Meng Seng and PPP chairman Syafarin Sarif.

They paid tribute to Mr Sin's perseverance in opposition politics despite repeated defeats.

He last contested the 2011 General Election, and stepped down as SPP chairman in 2012, citing health reasons and the need to refresh the party leadership.

Mr Sin leaves behind his wife, two daughters, a son and three grandchildren. He will be cremated tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Opposition veteran Sin, 72, dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe