Asia

SPP chairman Jose Raymond retires from politics to focus on his business

SINGAPORE – Singapore People’s Party (SPP) chairman Jose Raymond is retiring from politics to focus on expanding his business.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Dec 22), Mr Raymond, 49, announced his “political farewell” and thanked his supporters and volunteers for their efforts in his General Election 2020 campaign in Potong Pasir.

“The time has come for me to focus on things which will help me create impact in other ways, to help others in different ways and to take my firm regional – something which I have been wanting to do ever since I started the firm in 2016,” said Mr Raymond, who is chief strategy officer at strategy and communications advisory firm SW Strategies.

“I am truly sorry if I have disappointed any of you in any way with my decision. The ones who need my help can continue to reach out and I will do whatever I can within my ability to help as much as possible. My life purpose to serve humanity remains intact.”

Mr Raymond stood as a candidate for the first time in the July 10 election earlier this year.

He lost to incumbent Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin of the People’s Action Party, who won 60.67 of the votes in the single-seat constituency.

After joining the SPP in 2017, Mr Raymond became its chairman in November last year, following the retirement of the party’s former leader, veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong, a month before.

Mr Raymond told The Straits Times his firm opened an office in Malaysia last year and has been exploring the possibility of expanding into Indonesia and Thailand.

“I was spending half my time in Malaysia before Covid-19, and now we are starting on the Jakarta chapter as well, which is why I need to stay focused on what I need to do,” he said.

He added that he informed the SPP of his decision last Thursday and will officially step down next month, after serving a 30-day notice.

SPP secretary-general Steve Chia confirmed the party’s central executive committee had received Mr Raymond’s resignation, and added that it would “make a decision” at its next meeting.

Said Mr Raymond: “This is the end of my political journey. I stood in the election because I wanted to fulfil one of my father’s wishes for me… he told me that when I was 13 years old. I was my father’s caregiver until he passed on in 2018, so I wanted to fulfil that wish.”

The SPP’s former assistant secretary-general Ariffin Sha also resigned from the party in August this year, and the position has not been filled, according to Mr Raymond.

When contacted, Mr Ariffin, 23, confirmed that he had resigned in August but did not elaborate on why he did so.

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