Open main menu

Lee Li Lian (simplified Chinese: 李丽连; traditional Chinese: 李麗連; pinyin: Li Lì Lián, born 19 July 1978) is a Singaporean politician, as a member of the opposition Workers' Party. Lee made her political debut on the 2011 election where she contested the single-member constituency of Punggol East. She served as the Member of Parliament upon winning the 2013's by-election from January 2013 until on August 2015, where she lost her seat to Charles Chong in the 2015 election by a narrow margin.

Lee Li Lian

Member of Parliament
for Punggol East SMC
In office
26 January 2013 – 11 September 2015
Preceded byMichael Palmer
Succeeded byCharles Chong
Personal details
Born (1978-07-19) July 19, 1978 (age 40)
NationalitySingapore Singapore
Political partyWorkers' Party
EducationCurtin University
Alma materCurtin University
OccupationFinancial trainer



Outside politics, Lee worked as a Business Development Executive at Clapper (S) Pte Ltd (2000–2003), a Financial Consultant for American International Assurance (2003–2005), a Broker with CIMB-GK Securities (2005–2006), a Recruitment Manager for Prudential Assurance (2006–2008) and a Senior Trainer at Great Eastern Life Assurance (2008–2013). Lee resigned from her job as a financial trainer to serve as a full-time MP following her victory in the Punggol East by-election.[1]

Political careerEdit

Lee was the Workers' Party's Deputy Treasurer from 2008 to 2011, the party's Youth Wing President from 2011 to 2012 and the Deputy Webmaster from 2012 to 2014. Since 2014, she has been the Organising Secretary on the party's Executive Council. Prior to her election to parliament, she also served as a legislative assistant to Pritam Singh, who he was now the Secretary-General of the party since 2018, and as an MP of the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (which the party first captured the constituency in the 2011 general election.

Lee made her debut in the political arena on the 2011 general election where she was fielded as a candidate representing the Punggol East SMC (a ward formerly part of the neighbouring Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), where she was defeated to the governing People's Action Party (PAP) candidate, Michael Palmer (who was made as a Speaker of Parliament post-election), with 16,994 (54.54%) to 12,777 votes (41.01%) (a third candidate, Desmond Lim of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), received only 1,387 votes (4.45%)).

However, on 12 December 2012, Palmer resigned his Speaker and MP post citing that he had an extra-marital affair against a constituency director from Pasir Ris West division[2], eventually precipitated a by-election which would be held on January 2013.[3] On the same day, then-Secretary General of WP, Low Thia Khiang announced the party candidacy, and would field Lee to contest the seat again in the forthcoming by-election.

At the close of the nomination (on January 16), Lee faced a rare four-cornered contest between PAP's Koh Poh Koon (a colorectal surgeon who joined the party three months prior), the SDA's Lim, and a fourth candidate, the Reform Party's Secretary-General Kenneth Jeyaretnam. On 26 January, Lee won the election with 16,045 votes (54.50%), with her rivals Koh, Jeyaretnam and Lim, received 12,875 (43.73%), 353 (1.20%) and 168 votes (0.57%), respectively. This win marked the second time after the 1981 by-election the WP had captured another parliamentary seat after a by-election, and Lee was also the first female candidate to control a SMC. Upon her win, Lee told the media that her immediate priority as Member of Parliament would be to ensure the smooth handover of the Town Council from the ruling PAP.[4] Lee was sworn in as a Member of Parliament on 4 February 2013.[5]

In the 2015 General Election, Lee was announced as a candidate who would defend the constituency, and on 27 August, PAP revealed that six-term MP and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong would be the challenger. On 11 September, Lee was defeated in her re-election 48.24% to 51.76%, and thus returning Punggol East SMC to the PAP. Although she was offered a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) position by-virtue for being the best-scoring losers of the election, Lee declined the offer, the first time she had done so since 1984 (two candidates who were also offered a position but neither accepted the offer). It was later revealed that Daniel Goh, a candidate part of the East Coast GRC (another ward with a best-scoring losing result, alongside Fengshan SMC), would replace Lee as the last NCMP seat, on 4 February 2016.


Lee was educated at Holy Innocents' High School and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, before earning a Bachelor's degree from Curtin University in 2001.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Lee is married to Koh Chee Koon, a telecommunications consultant.[7] On 15 January 2014, it was announced that she is pregnant with her first child and on 1 July 2014, she gave birth to a baby girl.

Electoral historyEdit

General Election 2015: Punggol East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Charles Chong 16,957 51.76 +8.03
WP Lee Li Lian 15,801 48.24 -6.26
Majority 1,156 3.52 +7.25
Rejected ballots 379 1.14 -0.26
Turnout 33,137 96.14 +1.83
Registered electors 34,466
PAP gain from WP Swing
By-Election 2013: Punggol East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
WP Lee Li Lian 16,045 54.50 +13.49
PAP Koh Poh Koon 12,875 43.73 -10.81
Reform Kenneth Jeyaretnam (Loses deposit) 353 1.20 N/A
SDA Desmond Lim Bak Chuan (Loses deposit) 168 0.57 -3.88
Margin of victory 3,170 10.77 -2.76
Rejected ballots 418 1.40 -0.3
Turnout 29,859 94.31 -0.99
Registered electors 31,659
WP gain from PAP Swing +12.15
General Election 2011: Punggol East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
PAP Michael Palmer 16,994 54.54 N/A
WP Lee Li Lian 12,777 41.01 N/A
SDA Desmond Lim Bak Chuan (Loses deposit) 1,387 4.45 N/A
Turnout 31,709 95.3 N/A
PAP win (new seat)


  1. ^ "Lee Li Lian quits her job to be a full-time MP". AsiaOne. 2013-04-28.
  2. ^ "Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigns over "grave mistake"". Channel NewsAsia. 2012-12-12.
  3. ^ "Punggol East by-election announced, Polling Day is Jan 26". The Straits Times. January 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "WP's Lee sets out immediate priorities for Punggol East". Channel NewsAsia. 2013-01-27.
  5. ^ "WP's Lee Li Lian sworn in as MP for Punggol East". Channel NewsAsia. February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
  6. ^ "Member's CV". Parliament of Singapore. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  7. ^ "'People's person' Lee believes in the value of personal touch". My Paper. January 17, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.

External linksEdit