GE2020: Former ministers Lim Hng Kiang, Lim Swee Say step down as MPs

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

With the nomination of candidates at this year's general election done and dusted, former ministers Lim Hng Kiang and Lim Swee Say have in principle retired from politics, stepping down as MPs.

The pair were noticeably missing from the line-up of their previous GRCs, West Coast and East Coast. 

In a Facebook video post on Tuesday (June 30), Lim Hng Kiang thanked residents for their support, stating that "it has been my honour and privilege to be able to serve Telok Blangah residents".

He added that he will be "passing the baton" to Rachel Ong, 47, who is running in her first election.

The 66-year-old joined politics in 1991 with the People's Action Party (PAP) and as a six-term MP first served in Tanjong Pagar GRC, then in West Coast GRC since 1997.

He was appointed Acting Minister for National Development in 1995, and served as Minister for Health during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and most recently Minister for Trade and Industry from 2004 to 2018, until he stepped down from Cabinet.

His tenure at the Ministry for Trade and Industry was for a record-breaking 14 years.

Lim Swee Say was most recently Minister for Manpower from 2015 to 2018 before he retired from Cabinet. 

The 65-year-old joined politics in 1997 under PAP and had served as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and as Acting Minister for the Environment.

A letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Lim Swee Say when he stepped down from Cabinet wrote that Lim had a "knack for simple and effective messaging" and was the one behind phrases such as "cheaper, better, faster" and "better, betterer, betterest".

As a five-term MP, he served in four GRCs, namely Tanjong Pagar GRC, Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC, Holland Bukit Timah GRC and most recently, East Coast GRC where PAP defeated Workers' Party with 60.7 per cent of the votes in the 2015 election.