SINGAPORE: A prominent member of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Ashleigh Seow, has apologised publicly to four members of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) for statements made during the recent by-election, which was won by a PAPteam of four candidates headed by the Prime Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong. He also agreed to donate S$25,000 (HK$116,750) to a charity or charities nominated by the PAP members, none of whom was contesting the by-election, and to pay legal costs. Mr Seow, one of four unsuccessful SDP candidates in the by-election, made his apology in an advertisement in yesterday's Sunday Times. Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of the Sunday Times, which reported his remarks, also apologised in an adjacent advertisement. Speaking at a by-election rally last month, Mr Seow said that joining the PAP was a ''very smart career move'' and cited the four PAP members, two former and two serving Members of Parliament, as examples of successful corporate men. He said that if a person was climbing the corporate ladder, it made ''a lot of sense to jump on the PAP escalator and get to the top quicker''. In the advertisement, Mr Seow said that during his speech he ''had [wrongly] imputed'' to the four PAP members ''dishonourable motives for their respective entries into politics''. He said the statements were ''completely untrue and made without any basis'' and he withdrew them unreservedly and apologised without qualification. Mr Seow also undertook not to make any similar statements in future. He told the Sunday Times he wished to put the incident behind him.