Singapore's former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on Thursday announced that he is retiring from politics and will not run in the upcoming general elections, after having served as a parliament member for over 40 years.
Goh, 79, who holds the honorary position of Emeritus Senior Minister, said he made the decision "after much thought and with a heavy heart", the Channel News Asia reported.
"Smooth and systematic leadership succession is key to Singapore's political stability. I prefer to retire as Member of Parliament now whilst I am healthy and able to ease my successor's transition into Marine Parade," said Goh, who was Singapore's second prime minister.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has accepted Goh's decision to retire from politics "with sadness", according to the report.
Lee noted Goh's contributions to Singapore and thanked him for a "lifetime of distinguished service".
Goh, who is senior most PAP politician, said it has been his greatest honour and privilege to have served the People's Action Party, residents of Marine Parade, as well as Singapore and Singaporeans over the past 44 years.
Goh, an economist by training, entered politics in 1976 and was first elected to parliament as MP for Marine Parade in the 1976 general elections.
He was re-elected in nine subsequent general elections, and served as Minister for Trade and Industry, Health and Defence between 1979 and 1990.
He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, and succeeded Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore's second prime minister in November 1990.
Goh relinquished the post of prime minister in August 2004 to Lee Hsien Loong, and remained in the Cabinet as a senior minister.
He stepped down from Cabinet alongside Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew after the 2011 general election, and was given the honorary title of Emeritus Senior Minister.
Singapore's general elections is scheduled for July 10.