Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore

The speaker of the Parliament of Singapore is the presiding officer of the Parliament of Singapore. The speaker is also second in the presidential line of succession. The incumbent speaker is Tan Chuan-Jin, who took office on 11 September 2017.

Speaker of the
Parliament of Singapore
Coat of arms of Singapore.svg
Tan Chuan Jin.jpg
Incumbent
Tan Chuan-Jin

since 11 September 2017
Parliament of Singapore
Style
TypePresiding officer
NominatorPrime Minister of Singapore
AppointerParliament of Singapore
Term lengthNo term limit
Inaugural holderGeorge Oehlers
Formation5 June 1955; 67 years ago (1955-06-05)
SalaryS$550,000 annually
(including S$192,500 MP salary)
Websitewww.parliament.gov.sg
The wig and ceremonial gown of the Speaker of Parliament on display in Parliament House. The speaker will only wear the gown during the Opening of Parliament ceremony however, the wearing of wig was discontinued in 1993.

Although Singapore is modelled after the Westminster system, unlike their counterpart in the United Kingdom—where the speaker must remain strictly non-partisan and renounce all affiliation with their former political parties when taking office and afterwards, the speaker of the Parliament of Singapore can choose to remain partisan.

The incumbent deputy speakers are Christopher de Souza and Jessica Tan, who took office on 31 August 2022.

ElectionEdit

Parliament must elect a Speaker at the beginning of each new parliamentary term after a general election.[1] Parliament has the freedom to choose how to elect the Speaker. By recent tradition, the Prime Minister nominates a person for the role. The person's name is then proposed and seconded by the Members of Parliament (MPs), before being elected as Speaker.[2] The Constitution states that Parliament has the freedom to decide how to elect its Speaker.[3]

The Speaker may or may not be an elected MP, but must possess the qualifications to stand for election as an MP as provided for in the Constitution.[4] The Speaker cannot be a Cabinet Minister or Parliamentary Secretary,[3] and must resign from those positions prior to being elected as Speaker.

Once elected, a Speaker continues in office until the dissolution of Parliament, unless the speaker resigns, is appointed as a Cabinet minister or Parliamentary Secretary, or is disqualified from holding their seat as an MP.[5]

RoleEdit

The role of the Speaker in Singapore is similar to that in most Commonwealth legislatures. The Speaker presides over the sittings of Parliament, and enforces the rules prescribed in its Standing Orders for the orderly conduct of parliamentary business. In carrying out their duties, the Speaker must remain impartial and fair to all MPs.[4]

The Speaker regulates and enforces the rules of debate. They decide who has the right to speak, and put the question for Parliament to debate on and vote. The Speaker does not take part in the debates, but can abstain or vote for or against a motion if they have a vote as an elected MP.[4]

As the guardian of parliamentary privileges, MPs look to the Speaker for guidance on procedures, and for rulings on any points of order.[4]

The Speaker is second in the order of succession for the office of the President of Singapore. Should the President's office be vacant, and the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers is unable to take up the role, the Speaker will assume the duties of the President until a new President is elected.[6] In terms of state protocol, the Speaker sits at the same level as the Chief Justice of Singapore.[2]

The Speaker acts as Parliament's representative in its relations with other legislatures and outside bodies. The Speaker also welcomes visiting dignitaries, and represents Parliament at national events and during official visits abroad. The Speaker is overall in charge of the administration of Parliament and its Secretariat.[4]

The Speaker is one of the few public sector roles which allow its office-holder to automatically qualify as a candidate in the Singapore presidential elections.[7]

List of speakersEdit

The list of people who have served as Speakers of Parliament is set out below:[8]

Portrait Speaker Party Took office Left office Parliament
George Oehlers
(1908–1968)
Independent 22 April 1955 31 March 1959 1st Legislative Assembly
3 June 1959 3 September 1963 2nd Legislative Assembly
Edmund William Barker
MP for Tanglin
(1920–2001)
People's Action Party 22 October 1963 30 October 1964 3rd Legislative Assembly
Arumugam Ponnu Rajah
(1911–1999)
Independent 2 November 1964 8 August 1965
9 August 1965 5 August 1966 1st Parliament
Punch Coomaraswamy
(1925–1999)
Independent 17 August 1966 7 February 1968
6 May 1968 18 January 1970 2nd Parliament
Yeoh Ghim Seng
MP for Joo Chiat
(1918–1993)
People's Action Party 27 January 1970 14 August 1972
12 October 1972 5 December 1976 3rd Parliament
7 February 1977 4 December 1980 4th Parliament
3 February 1981 3 December 1984 5th Parliament
25 February 1985 17 August 1988 6th Parliament
Tan Soo Khoon
MP for Brickworks GRC (until 1991)
MP for Bedok GRC (1991–1997)
MP for East Coast GRC (from 1997)
(born 1949)
People's Action Party 9 January 1989 13 August 1991 7th Parliament
6 January 1992 15 December 1996 8th Parliament
26 May 1997 17 October 2001 9th Parliament
Abdullah Tarmugi
MP for East Coast GRC
(born 1944)
People's Action Party 22 March 2002 19 April 2006 10th Parliament
2 November 2006 18 April 2011 11th Parliament
  Michael Palmer
MP for Punggol East SMC
(born 1968)
People's Action Party 10 October 2011 12 December 2012 12th Parliament
  Halimah Yacob
MP for Jurong GRC (until 2015)
MP for Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC (from 2015)
(born 1954)
People's Action Party 14 January 2013 24 August 2015
15 January 2016 7 August 2017 13th Parliament
  Tan Chuan-Jin
MP for Marine Parade GRC
(born 1969)
People's Action Party 11 September 2017 22 June 2020
24 August 2020 Incumbent 14th Parliament

List of deputy speakersEdit

The following table contains a list of Deputy Speakers of Parliament:[9]

Portrait Speaker Party Took office Left office Parliament Speaker
Richard Lim Chuan Hoe
Nominated Member
(1904–1968)
Labour Front
(until 1959)
26 April 1955 31 March 1959 1st Legislative Assembly Sir George Oehlers
Malayan Chinese Association (from 1959)
G. Kandasamy
MP for Kampong Kapor
(1921-1999)
People's Action Party 15 July 1959 24 September 1961 2nd Legislative Assembly
John Mammen
MP for Telok Blangah
People's Action Party 16 November 1961 3 September 1963
Fong Kim Heng
MP for Joo Chiat
(1923-1975)
People's Action Party 9 December 1963 8 August 1965 3rd Legislative Assembly Edmund William Barker
Arumugam Ponnu Rajah
9 August 1965 9 December 1965 1st Parliament Arumugam Ponnu Rajah
Punch Coomaraswamy
(1925–1999)
Independent 23 February 1966 16 August 1966
Yeoh Ghim Seng
MP for Joo Chiat
(1918–1993)
People's Action Party 11 July 1968 26 January 1970 2nd Parliament Punch Coomaraswamy
Tang See Chim
MP for Chua Chu Kang
(born 1930)
People's Action Party 22 November 1972 5 December 1976 3rd Parliament Yeoh Ghim Seng
22 February 1977 4 December 1980 4th Parliament
Hwang Soo Jin
MP for Jalan Kayu
(born 1937)
People's Action Party 6 March 1981 3 December 1984 5th Parliament
Tan Soo Khoon
MP for Alexandra
(born 1949)
People's Action Party 1 March 1985 17 August 1988 6th Parliament
  Lim Boon Heng
MP for Kebun Baru SMC
(born 1947)
People's Action Party 16 January 1989 13 August 1991 7th Parliament Tan Soo Khoon
Abdullah Tarmugi
MP for Siglap SMC (until 1991)
MP for Bedok GRC (from 1991)
(born 1944)
People's Action Party 16 January 1989 13 August 1991
6 January 1992 30 June 1993 8th Parliament
Eugene Yap Giau Cheng
MP for Mountbatten SMC (until 1997)
MP for Marine Parade GRC (from 1997)
People's Action Party 26 February 1993 15 December 1996
26 May 1997 17 October 2001 9th Parliament
  Lim Hwee Hua
MP for Marine Parade GRC
(born 1959)
People's Action Party 1 April 2002 11 August 2004 10th Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi
Chew Heng Ching
MP for East Coast GRC
(born 1953)
People's Action Party 1 April 2002 19 April 2006
S. Iswaran
MP for West Coast GRC
(born 1962)
People's Action Party 1 September 2004 19 April 2006
  Indranee Rajah
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
(born 1963)
People's Action Party 8 November 2006 18 April 2011 11th Parliament
Matthias Yao
MP for Marine Parade GRC
(born 1956)
People's Action Party 8 November 2006 18 April 2011
  Seah Kian Peng
MP for Marine Parade GRC
(born 1961)
People's Action Party 17 October 2011 24 August 2015 12th Parliament Michael Palmer
Halimah Yacob
Charles Chong
MP for Joo Chiat SMC (until 2015)
MP for Punggol East SMC (from 2015)
(born 1953)
People's Action Party 17 October 2011 24 August 2015
25 January 2016 22 June 2020 13th Parliament Halimah Yacob
Tan Chuan-Jin
Lim Biow Chuan
MP for Mountbatten SMC
(born 1963)
25 January 2016 22 June 2020
  Jessica Tan Soon Neo
MP for East Coast GRC
(born 1966)
People's Action Party 31 August 2020 Incumbent 14th Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin
Christopher de Souza
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
(born 1976)
People's Action Party 31 August 2020 Incumbent

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Constitution, Art. 40(1).
  2. ^ a b Lee, Min Kok (8 January 2016). "Halimah Yacob to be renominated as Speaker of Parliament: 7 things you may not know about the post". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b Constitution, Art. 40(2).
  4. ^ a b c d e "Speaker of Parliament". Parliament of Singapore. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  5. ^ Constitution, Art. 40(4).
  6. ^ Constitution, Art. 22N.
  7. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, Art. 19(3)(a).
  8. ^ "List of former speakers". Parliament of Singapore.
  9. ^ "Speakers of Parliament". Parliament of Singapore. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Scroll to bottom and expand the list of former Deputy Speaker