Opposition rallies

GE 2015: SPP urges voters to keep alive Chiam See Tong's legacy

Mrs Lina Chiam speaks during the SPP rally for the Potong Pasir SMC held at Potong Pasir Ave 1 on Sept 8, 2015.
Mrs Lina Chiam speaks during the SPP rally for the Potong Pasir SMC held at Potong Pasir Ave 1 on Sept 8, 2015.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - It was a family affair at the Singapore People's Party (SPP) rally on Tuesday (Sept 8) night as the family of Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Lina Chiam shared an election stage for the first time.

Veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong made his return to Potong Pasir and his daughter, Camilla, made her maiden election rally speech in support of her mother.

Ms Chiam, 39, said she was eight when her father won in Potong Pasir for the first time in 1984. She also shared memories of the football competitions and mid-autumn festival celebrations that he had organised.

Speaking in Mandarin, she called on residents to revive the strong kampung spirit of the town, and assured residents that upgrading would still carry on even if they voted for the SPP.

"I have a strong attachment to Potong Pasir, and I hope you can bring back that neighbourliness of the past and not be tempted by upgrading programmes," she said, urging residents to remember the work Mr Chiam had done for the community.

Keeping his legacy as a respectable opposition voice in Parliament alive was a recurrent theme at the party rally last night (Sept 8), with speakers such as SPP candidate in Mountbatten SMC Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss urging Potong Pasir voters to "keep the flag of Chiam See Tong flying".

The opposition stalwart remains the longest-serving opposition MP to date, having represented Potong Pasir SMC for 27 years before he stepped out to lead a team in next-door Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at the last general election.

Mrs Chiam said her husband was able to maintain the estate and even offer free lift upgrading during his tenure, despite not being able to tap on Community Improvement Projects Committee funds.

She also reminded voters that she was one of the most outspoken MPs in Parliament over the last four years.

"I hope you can consider that the SPP has the most experience representing you in Parliament," she said. "Experience is not something that can be replicated overnight."

She also said that voters should vote for the opposition in Potong Pasir to get "the best two-in-one coffee mix".

"I can speak out for you, take care of your livelihood, and at the same time the PAP will dish out all the goodies for you," she said, echoing a call often made by opposition parties.

Mr Chiam capped off the evening with an endorsement for his wife, who he said had been courageous in Parliament.

"She has asked difficult questions in Parliament, which other MPs refused to ask," he said.

•Additional reporting by Priscilla Goy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2015, with the headline 'SPP urges voters to keep alive Chiam's legacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe