SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Tan Chuan-Jin will be nominated for re-election as Speaker of Parliament when the House meets next Monday (Aug 24).
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Indranee Rajah will also be designated as Leader of the House, and Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad as Deputy Leader.
The PMO announced this on Thursday (Aug 20), when it also released the text of a letter Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote to the Clerk of Parliament on these posts ahead of the opening of the 14th Parliament.
Indranee takes over the post of Leader from Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, who has held it since October 2015.
Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Finance and National Development, will be the second woman to hold the office after Fu.
She was also Deputy Speaker from 2006 to 2011.
As Leader of the House, she will be in charge of coordinating and managing the Government's parliamentary business.
She will be assisted by Zaqy, who is Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Defence. He will take over as Deputy Leader from Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.
Lee has also held the post since October 2015.
Indranee said in a Facebook post after the announcement that she was humbled and honoured to be appointed as Leader of the House.
She said the position comes with heavy responsibilities, adding that she will do her utmost to discharge her responsibilities well.
“I am conscious that this comes at a time when our country is facing severe challenges with Covid-19 with a grave economic situation and social stresses, ” she said.
“What we say and do in Parliament matters -- to our lives, our jobs and our future. It is not only Singaporeans who will be looking to see what happens in the Chamber, but other countries too.”
Indranee in her post also congratulated Janil Puthucheary on his re-appointment to the role of PAP Whip on Wednesday. She said her new role will involve working closely with him.
She also noted that it will involve liaising with the Leader of the Opposition, a new position that will be held by Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh. Ms Indranee added that she was looking forward to working with him.
The current Speaker, Mr Tan, was first elected to the post by MPs on Sept 11,2017, after Madam Halimah Yacob relinquished it to run for the presidency.
The Speaker presides over all sittings of Parliament and does not take part in debates, but can abstain or vote for or against a motion if he has an original vote as an elected member.
He also acts as the representative of the House in its dealings with other Parliaments and outside bodies, welcomes visiting dignitaries and represents Parliament at national events.
The opening of a new Parliament following a general election traditionally begins with the election of the Speaker by MPs.
The MPs then take their oaths of allegiance.
President Halimah is scheduled to deliver her address next Monday at 8pm. The President's Address will set out the agenda and plans of the Government for its five-year term.
Parliament will then adjourn till the following week, when MPs will debate the President's Address. Prime Minister Lee is also scheduled to speak during the debate. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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