In a first for Singapore, a Leader of the Opposition was appointed on Tuesday and the man who made history is Pritam Singh.
The 43-year-old is the Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party.
Singapore's legislatures have never had formally designated Leaders of the Opposition, and in fact, such a position is “not provided for in the Constitution or the Standing Orders of Parliament," the parliamentary office said in its statement on Tuesday.
However, in the recently held election on July 10, Workers' Party won 10 parliamentary seats out of the 93 contested, making it the biggest opposition presence in Singapore's Parliament.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's ruling People's Action Party won 83 seats, with the government being sworn in on Monday.
A joint statement by the Office of the Speaker of Parliament and Office of the Leader of the House said that Singh would take on more duties and be accorded additional privileges in his role as the Leader of the Opposition.
"Similar to other Westminster parliamentary systems, Mr Singh will lead the Opposition in presenting alternative views in parliamentary debates on policies, bills and motions," said the statement.
He will also lead 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, such as the Public Accounts Committee.
After taking charge, Singh announced that he would designate 50 per cent of his additional salary as Leader of the Opposition for the following:
- To assist low-income residents in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC and Sengkang GRC through the WP Community Fund (WPCF) and/or the WP Grassroots Committee; or
- Community programs in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC, Sengkang GRC; or
- Charitable or worthy causes; or
- Workers’ Party specific needs.
Singapore's 14th Parliament will have its first sitting on August 24.