Labour chief Lim Swee Say has declared his interest to run in East Coast GRC in the next general election, saying he hopes for more time to implement the plans he has for the ageing constituency.
"I have made up my mind. I want to contest in East Coast, in Bedok, and fight for another chance to serve the residents of East Coast," he said in an interview with Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, published on Monday.
Mr Lim, MP in the GRC's Bedok ward, as well as Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, had indicated on two separate occasions that the 2011 election would be his last.
The first hint was in 2007 when he said in Parliament: "By 2016, when I'm 62, if I still have to stand for election to serve as secretary-general of NTUC, to serve as Minister in the Prime Minister's Office... our effort in attracting the best people to form the best team must have run into some difficulties."
He repeated the point at a 2011 dialogue.
But days later, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Mr Lim's decision to retire as a minister or MP "is not up to him to decide on his own; it depends on me and I haven't agreed to let him go".
The next general election has to to be held by January 2017.
In his Zaobao interview, Mr Lim confirmed he would step down as the NTUC's secretary-general when he turns 62 on July 13, 2016.
This is mandatory under the NTUC's constitution, following a change made in October 2011.
"Since it is stipulated that the secretary-general has to step down, I will have no more worries," he said.
Referring to his earlier remarks, he said they were prompted by his concern over leadership renewal. He had wanted to send a strong message that it should not be for the lack of a successor that he ends up being fielded in the election again.
At NTUC, four PAP MPs have been appointed assistant secretaries-general and they can be in the running for the labour chief position. The four are Mr Zainal Sapari, 48, Mr Patrick Tay, 42, Mr Ang Hin Kee, 48, and Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, 52.
Mr Lim declined to comment on his successor.
Speaking of his "determination" to stand again in East Coast GRC, he said he wants to implement his plans to help the elderly, the disadvantaged and their caregivers.