ESM Goh Chok Tong to become full-time boomer after 44 years in Singapore politics

By June 25, 2020Current

TL;DR – Now he can spend more time singing at KTV and chit-chatting with senior citizens.

After having served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Marine Parade for more than 40 years, Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong has announced that he will not be running in the 2020 General Election.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the People’s Action Party veteran said that his decision to retire as an MP for Marine Parade was made “after much thought and a heavy heart.”

The former Prime Minister who is turning 80 next year, recommended for 55-year-old Dr Tan See Leng to be his successor in Marine Parade.

Dr Tan, who was the former group chief executive officer and managing director of healthcare group IHH Healthcare Berhad, had been ESM Goh’s understudy for two years, helping him with Meet-the-People Sessions and other initiatives that he had started.

In case you didn’t know, Tan’s also one of the candidates unveiled by the People’s Action Party (PAP) this morning.

Entering into politics

ESM Goh first entered politics as a PAP candidate in the 1976 general election when he was 35 years old. He was elected as MP for the Marine Parade Single Member Constituency, which he has continued to represent ever since.

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He was entrusted with the role of a Senior Minister of State for Finance a year after entering the political arena and was later promoted to Minister for Trade and Industry in 1981.

Over the years, ESM Goh was assigned several portfolios and has served in various ministries.

As the Prime Minister of Singapore

On 28 November 1990, ESM Goh succeeded Lee Kuan Yew and became the second Prime Minister (PM) of Singapore and served a term of thirteen-years, from 28 November 1990 to 12 August 2004.

As PM, ESM Goh’s style of governance was described as consultative and consensual. Several major policies and policy institutions were introduced during his administration, including the Medisave scheme, which enabled Singaporeans to use their Central Provident Fund to pay their medical bills.

ESM Goh has also led Singapore through trying times such as the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the economic downturn caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

On 12 August 2004, ESM Goh stepped down as Prime Minister and held the role of Senior Minister in the Cabinet.

PM Lee dedicates Facebook post to ESM Goh

Shortly after news of ESM Goh’s retirement broke, PM Lee took to Facebook to convey his thanks to his “mentor, colleague, comrade, and friend.”

PM Lee wrote that he is forever personally indebted to ESM Goh, who brought him into politics, forging a friendship that was unlike any other,

“I am forever personally indebted to Chok Tong, who brought me into politics. Ours was a fruitful comradeship that spanned the entirety of my years in politics and most of his — a close friendship between two prime ministers that would be the envy of many countries.”

Besides being one of Singapore’s longest-serving politicians, ESM Goh is also known to many of us for his boomer tradition of posting candid shots on his Facebook page.

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You will probably remember this:

or this:

Who would have expected our ESM Goh to be THIS popular amongst the ladies? 😉

According to this cute anecdote of ESM Goh shared by Neil Humphreys on his Facebook, pretty sure he’s quite an auntie-killer!

Here’s wishing ESM Goh a happy retirement!


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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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