Turned down chance to enter politics in 1996


Victor Lye, 52

Occupation: Chief executive of Shenton Insurance

Family: Married to a 46-year-old housewife. They have two children aged 17 and 21.

Education: Bachelor of Economics, first-class honours, from University of Adelaide

Hobbies: Cycling and jogging

Why politics?

I had the chance to enter politics in 1996 but I declined. I believe in stepping forward on my own time and of my choosing. In 1999, I helped then minister George Yeo in Aljunied GRC because I saw how Singaporeans were affected by the Asian financial crisis. After 2011, when Aljunied was lost to WP, it would have been easy to walk away but I said to myself I was here for the people.

Why you?I have looked after many businesses in leadership positions. I've looked after the welfare of my employees and the interests of my customers. For Aljunied GRC, I have the financial background and business experience. And I know what is wrong with the town council. I believe I can contribute, with my comrades, to do better for the people of Aljunied GRC.

What issues will you focus on?

The widening income gap and helping lower-income groups. I grew up in a poor family and we didn't have a permanent home. As a full-time national serviceman, I actually asked for guard duty so that I could stay in camp with a bed to sleep on and some quiet time. I could not afford a university education but the Government gave me a Colombo Plan scholarship.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

Home, eating and chatting with my family.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Turned down chance to enter politics in 1996'. Print Edition | Subscribe