Leader of the Opposition (Singapore)

Parliament of Singapore Pritam Singh (Singaporean politician) Prime Minister of Singapore

Leader of the Opposition of
the Republic of Singapore
Pritam Singh at the Workers' Party general election rally, Serangoon Stadium, Singapore - 20110505.jpg
Incumbent
Pritam Singh

since 24 August 2020[1]
Parliament of Singapore
AppointerCentral Executive Council of the largest opposition party in Parliament
Term lengthElected leader of the largest opposition party in Parliament
Inaugural holderPritam Singh (de jure)
(14th Parliament)
and
Lee Kuan Yew (de facto)
(1st Legislative Assembly)
Formation24 August 2020 (de jure)
and
22 April 1955 (de facto)
SalaryS$385,000 per annum (including $192,500 MP salary)

The Leader of the Opposition is an official parliamentary appointment in the Parliament of Singapore, conferred onto the elected politician who leads the opposition party with the greatest number of elected opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) in Singapore.[2] The elected politician, by convention, leads the largest party not within the ruling government - if one party wins outright, the role is offered to the elected party leader of the second-largest political party in the Parliament of Singapore. The first inaugural Leader of the Opposition in Singapore is Mr Lee Kuan Yew in the Legislative Assembly in 1955, when Singapore was still a Crown Colony of the British Empire. The current Leader of the Opposition is Pritam Singh, Leader of the Workers' Party, who was elected to the leadership of the Workers' Party on 8 April 2018.[3]

Prior to the 2020 Singaporean general election, the position was considered as an de facto role. However, in a press conference by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after the electoral results, Lee announced that WP secretary-general Pritam Singh would be formally appointed as the first de jure Leader of the Opposition in Singapore. As a consequence, Singh would be provided with the appropriate manpower support and resources[4][5] to perform the parliamentary role.[6][7] In other Commonwealth countries with a Westminster parliamentary system of government, the parliamentary appointment is supported with a secretariat and is additionally given office space in the Parliament buildings.[2]

Due to its former status as an de facto role prior to the 2020 general election, the Leader of the Opposition then did not draw any additional allowance by virtue of holding the position. They were entitled to the usual ordinary remuneration allowance granted to other regular Members of Parliament. However, following the first formal appointment of the Leader of the Opposition in 2020, Parliament announced that the Leader of the Opposition will draw an annual salary of S$385,000, double the salary of a regular MP.[8][9]

Seating in Parliament

The Leader of the Opposition sits on the left side of the Parliament chamber, directly opposite the Prime Minister of Singapore and for a short time in the 13th Parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore.

Duties

The Leader of the Opposition is expected to lead the opposition in presenting alternative views in parliamentary debates on policies, bills and motions, and organise the scrutiny of the Government’s positions and actions in Parliament and be consulted on the appointment of opposition members to Select Committees, including Standing Select Committees such as the Public Accounts Committee.

In addition to his parliamentary duties, the Leader of the Opposition may be called upon to take on other duties such as attending official state functions and taking part in visits and meetings alongside members of the Government and the Public Service.[10]

Power & Resources

In Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition (LO) will generally be given the right of first response among Members of Parliament (MPs), and will be allowed ask the lead question to the Ministers on policies, bills and motions, subject to existing speaking conventions. The LO will also be given a longer speaking duration for speeches, equivalent to that given to political officeholders.

In addition to the government data or information available to other MPs, the LO will receive confidential briefings by the Government on select matters of national security and external relations, and in the event of a national crisis or emergency.

The LO will be provided an office and the use of a meeting room in Parliament House. He will also receive allowances to hire up to three additional Legislative Assistants. This is in addition to the allowances all MPs receive for one Legislative Assistant and one Secretarial Assistant. The LO will also be provided with a secretary to support him administratively with Parliamentary business.[10]

List of the Unofficial Leaders of the Opposition of Singapore

Leader of the Opposition Party Took office Left office Parliament
Lee Kuan Yew in 1965 Lee Kuan Yew
MP for Tanjong Pagar
(1923–2015)
PAP logo variation.svg People's Action Party 22 April 1955 31 March 1959 1st Legislative Assembly
SPA Logo.svg Lim Yew Hock
MP for Cairnhill
(1914–1984)
SPA Logo.svg Singapore People's Alliance 1 July 1959 3 September 1963 2nd Legislative Assembly
BS logo variation.png Lim Huan Boon
MP for Bukit Merah
(born 1929)
BS logo variation.png Barisan Sosialis 22 October 1963 8 August 1965 3rd Legislative Assembly
9 August 1965 31 December 1965 1st Parliament
BS logo variation.png Chia Thye Poh
MP for Jurong
(born 1941)
BS logo variation.png Barisan Sosialis 1 January 1966 7 October 1966
No Leader of the Opposition
(1966-1981)
JoshuaBenjaminJeyaretnam-Singapore-20051107-detail.jpg J. B. Jeyaretnam
MP for Anson
(1926-2008)
WP SG LOGO VARIANT.svg Workers' Party 22 December 1981 4 December 1984 5th Parliament
25 February 1985 10 November 1986 6th Parliament
ChiamSeeTong-SDARally-20060502.jpg Chiam See Tong
MP for Potong Pasir (until 1988)
MP for Potong Pasir SMC (from 1988)
(born 1935)
SDP logo variation.svg Singapore Democratic Party 10 November 1986 17 August 1988
9 January 1989 14 August 1991 7th Parliament
6 January 1992 17 May 1993 8th Parliament
SDP logo variation.svg Ling How Doong
MP for Bukit Gombak SMC
(born 1934)
SDP logo variation.svg Singapore Democratic Party 17 May 1993 16 December 1996
ChiamSeeTong-SDARally-20060502.jpg Chiam See Tong
MP for Potong Pasir SMC
(born 1935)
SPP logo.svg Singapore People's Party 26 May 1997 18 October 2001 9th Parliament
Red star, 4x blue overlapping rings.svg Singapore Democratic Alliance 25 March 2002 20 April 2006 10th Parliament
Low Thia Khiang 2011.JPG Low Thia Khiang
MP for Hougang SMC (until 2011)
MP for Aljunied GRC (from 2011)
(born 1956)
WP SG LOGO VARIANT.svg Workers' Party 2 November 2006 19 April 2011 11th Parliament
10 October 2011 25 August 2015 12th Parliament
15 January 2016 8 April 2018 13th Parliament
Pritam Singh at the Workers' Party general election rally, Serangoon Stadium, Singapore - 20110505.jpg Pritam Singh
MP for Aljunied GRC
(born 1976)
WP SG LOGO VARIANT.svg Workers' Party 8 April 2018 23 June 2020

List of the Leaders of the Opposition of Singapore

Leader of the Opposition Party Took office Left office Parliament
Pritam Singh at the Workers' Party general election rally, Serangoon Stadium, Singapore - 20110505.jpg Pritam Singh
MP for Aljunied GRC
(born 1976)
WP SG LOGO VARIANT.svg Workers' Party 24 August 2020 Incumbent 14th Parliament


References

  1. ^ Pritam Singh has served as the Unofficial Leader of the Opposition since 8 April 2018 until the office was recognized in 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Leader of Opposition Pritam Singh could be given access to govt data, resources but Shadow Cabinet can wait: Analysts". TODAYonline.
  3. ^ "Pritam Singh elected new WP chief, succeeding Low Thia Khiang". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  4. ^ "PAP's openness to sharing information will determine extent of realistic policy alternatives, says WP's Pritam Singh". The Straits Times. 18 July 2020.
  5. ^ "WP will continue to question Government, release working papers on issues affecting Singaporeans: Pritam Singh". CNA.
  6. ^ "Singapore GE2020: WP chief Pritam Singh to be named Leader of the Opposition". The Straits Times. 11 July 2020.
  7. ^ "GE2020: PAP has a 'clear mandate', but popular vote share 'not as high' as hoped: PM Lee". cna. 11 July 2020.
  8. ^ Kurohi, Rei (28 July 2020). "Parliament sets out duties and privileges of Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh". The Straits Times.
  9. ^ Pritam, Singh. "Opposition MPs will 'work extra hard' to put forth alternative ideas despite limitations, says Pritam Singh". TODAYonline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  10. ^ a b https://www.parliament.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/press-release-on-leader-of-opposition.pdf