PARLIAMENTARY GENERAL ELECTION 1988
On the whole, this was one of the more defining elections in history. Two years earlier in September 1986, the first three town councils were launched in the Ang Mo Kio area, with each combining three constituencies. This would be a prelude to GRCs to secure ethnic minority representation in Parliament, as well as political competition along estate management capabilities from this GE onwards. Also, changes to the electoral boundaries would no longer need to be tabled as a bill but instead, approved by the Prime Minister's Office. The Electoral Boundaries Delineation Committee was renamed the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, which submitted its maiden report to the PMO on 25 May 1988 and this was adopted on 14 June 1988. 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 called. Jeyaretnam was disqualified as MP after his conviction for improper declaration of WP accounts and his ward would be erased from the new map along with six others, namely Bo Wen, Delta, Khe Bong, River Valley, Rochore and Telok Ayer. Teh had committed suicide while under investigation for corruption. This was the last GE where PM Lee Kuan Yew would lead PAP. His Tanjong Pagar seat topped the score chart for the fifth time. Another two stalwarts, former Deputy PM Toh Chin Chye and Senior Minister S. Rajaratnam, retired. WP absorbed Barisan and SUF to become the largest opposition camp and produced a bumper crop of candidates. Former Solicitor-General and Law Society president, Francis Seow, was unveiled by WP to contest alongside veteran politician Lee Siew Choh. Acting lawyer for two of 22 people detained under the Internal Security Act in 1987 in an exercise known as "Operation Spectrum" for hatching a "Marxist Conspiracy" plot, which included several WP and Catholic Church helpers, Seow was himself detained for colluding with the Ambassador from United States of America to interfere in Singapore politics. During the campaign, he came under heavy fire from the PAP leadership, who made allegations on his loyalty and financial circumstances. PAP also swapped candidates to place its popular stalwart, Tay Eng Soon, to face the strong WP team. In the end, PAP barely retained Eunos GRC by a razor-thin margin. SDP fielded its own "star catch" Low Yong Nguan, who became the first former PAP MP to join the opposition but also did not win. The only opposition gain went to SDP leader Chiam See Tong, who had to form his own town council after receiving the snub from PAP wards. Two Non-Constituency MP seats were offered to WP, which nominated Lee and Seow. As Seow had charges for tax evasion filed against him, he took flight to USA 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. 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 was introduced to usher non-partisan voices into Parliament. The idea was first mooted in the seventies when there were no opposition MPs. 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)