PARLIAMENTARY GENERAL ELECTION 1988
On the whole, this was one of the more interesting elections in years. GRCs were introduced to ensure ethnic minority representation in Parliament, beginning with three joint constituencies. Also, changes to the electoral boundaries would no longer be passed as a bill in Parliament but be approved by the Prime Minister's Office. The Electoral Boundaries Delineation Committee was renamed the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, which submitted its first report to the PMO on 25 May 1988. The report, which was accepted on 14 June 1988, erased seven wards from the map, namely Anson, Bo Wen, Delta, Khe Bong, River Valley, Rochore and Telok Ayer. Hong Kah and Tampines were divided into three GRC divisions and Nee Soon into two single wards and a GRC division. Another two new single wards and a GRC division were carved out. This was the last GE that PAP was led by PM Lee Kuan Yew. His Tanjong Pagar seat topped the score chart for the fifth time. Another two stalwarts, former Deputy PM Dr Toh Chin Chye and Senior Minister S. Rajaratnam, retired. Two seats were vacated in 1986, which were Anson, held by WP chief J. B. Jeyaretnam and Geylang West, by PAP Member of Parliament Teh Cheang Wan, but no by-elections were held. Jeyaretnam was disqualified as MP after his conviction for improper declaration of WP accounts and Teh had committed suicide while under investigation for corruption. WP absorbed Barisan and SUF to become the largest opposition party and field a bumper crop of candidates. Former Solicitor-General and Law Society president, Francis Seow, was unveiled by WP to contest alongside veteran politician Dr Lee Siew Choh. Seow, who acted as lawyer for two of several WP volunteers detained under the Internal Security Act in 1987 in an exercise known as "Operation Spectrum" for hatching a "Marxist Conspiracy", was himself also detained for collusion with foreign government officials. During the campaign, he came under heavy fire from the PAP leadership, who made allegations on his background, track record and financial circumstances. PAP also swapped candidates to field its popular stalwart, Dr Tay Eng Soon, to face the strong WP team. In the end, PAP barely retained Eunos GRC by a razor-thin margin. SDP also fielded its own "star catch" Low Yong Nguan, who became the first former PAP MP to join the opposition. He did not win but SDP leader Chiam See Tong won the only opposition seat. Two Non-Constituency MP seats were offered to WP, which nominated Dr Lee and Seow. As Seow was facing outstanding charges for tax evasion, he left for the United States of America on the pretext of medical treatment and never returned. Due to this, he was disqualified from the seat on 17 December 1988, before Parliament was sworn in. Dr Lee became Singapore's first NCMP and this marked his return to the legislature after 25 years since his last stint with PAP and Barisan. In February 1989, another WP candidate and former SUF chief Seow Khee Leng, who was sued by PM Lee in 1984, was made bankrupt for failing to pay damages. In November 1990, the Nominated MP scheme introduced non-partisan voices into Parliament. Although the law provided for up to six NMPs, two were appointed for a start and served for a year before the term ended.
6th Parliament dissolved: 17 August 1988 [Wed]
Election deposit: $4,000 (+$2,500)