Singapore’s first official opposition leader will enjoy special privileges and have his allowance doubled, according to the city-state’s parliament speaker and office of the leader of the house today in outlining his duties.
Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh will also be expected to attend confidential briefings on selected matters related to national security and foreign relations. He may also be required to attend state functions, visits, and meetings.
It was also said that Singh, who is the Member of Parliament for the Aljunied constituency, will receive an allowance double that of a regular MP. This means that he would earn up to S$385,000 (about US$280,000) annually. On top of this, he will also receive allowances to hire up to three additional legislative assistants.
This was announced a day after Singapore’s cabinet ministers and parliamentary members were sworn in ahead of the 14th Parliament, which opens on Aug. 24.
The Workers’ Party was the only opposition to snap up parliamentary seats in the elections, with 10 out of 93. Singapore’s People’s Action Party remains the supermajority and continues to rule the city-state since independence.
Following the elections, which saw the PAP win with 61% of total votes, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong official declared Singh as the leader of Singapore’s political opposition.
Singh will also be provided with an office and allowed to use a meeting room within the Parliament House.
Earlier in the day, Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-jin posted photos of himself dining with Singh.
“Chatted with Pritam Singh over lunch, discussing GE and politics, life in general, and also about his role as Leader of the Opposition (including mundane things Iike office space, furniture…) Good time catching up after the hustings. We are all already back to work but will resume Parliament sitting very soon,” he wrote online.
After the announcement of Singh’s role, he noted online that the broader scope of duties, privileges and remuneration mirrors the parliamentary practice in the United Kingdom. He also took the opportunity to say that he would extend his support to the two non-constituency Members of Parliament from Progress Singapore Party, who nearly defeated PAP in the elections in West Coast GRC.
“Many Commonwealth Parliaments recognise Erskine May’s Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament as the ‘bible’ of parliamentary practice. The broad scope of duties, privileges and remuneration extended to Singapore’s LO as outlined in the joint press release largely follows the spirit of the convention towards the LO as practiced by the UK Parliament,” Singh said.
“Finally, I will speak in greater detail on the approach The Workers’ Party will take in Parliament over the next term, and what the public can expect during the debate on the President’s address next month,” he later added.
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