Vastavam web: Pritam Singh, Singapore’s Indian-origin politician scripted history on Monday when Parliament conferred the duties and privileges to him as the city-state’s first Leader of the Opposition. Pritam Singh’s Workers’ Party won 10 parliamentary seats out of the 93 it contested in the July 10 General Election, making it the biggest opposition presence in Singapore’s parliamentary history. ‘With more opposition MPs reflecting a ‘strong desire among Singaporeans for a greater diversity of views in politics’ as noted by the Prime Minister (Lee Hsien Loong) in his swearing-in speech.. It is timely and appropriate that the position of the Leader of the Opposition be more formally recognised,’ said Indranee, who is also of Indian-origin from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
The PAP has an absolute majority in the House with 83 elected members. The House passed a motion to double Singh’s speaking time from 20 minutes — which is allotted to backbenchers — to 40 minutes, the duration allotted to office-holders. Following the General Election, Prime Minister Loong had said Singh will be designated the Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Parliament, and that he would be given staff support and resources to perform his duties.
There have been de facto leaders of the Opposition in the past, such as former Singapore People’s Party chief Chiam See Tong. However, this is the first time the position is being recognised officially. During her address on Monday, Indranee, 57, reiterated that Singh will be given an office in Parliament, staff support and resources, as well as additional allowance.