New Parliament to sit on Jan 15

The Parliament House.
The Parliament House. PHOTO: ST FILE

The new Parliament will sit on Jan 15, four months after the September General Election saw the People's Action Party (PAP) returned to power with 83 out of 89 seats and 69.9 per cent of the popular vote.

The date was announced yesterday in a statement by Leader of the House Grace Fu, who is Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

Of the 89 MPs and two Non-Constituency MPs slated to take their seats in the chamber that day, 21 are new faces. Of these, 19 are newly elected MPs from the PAP, while Mr Dennis Tan and Mr Leon Perera are NCMPs from the Workers' Party.

The first sitting of the 13th Parliament will start at 3.30pm, and will begin with the election of the Speaker of Parliament. The MPs and NCMPs will then be sworn in.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said last month that he intends to nominate Madam Halimah Yacob for the post of Speaker.

At 8.30pm that same evening, President Tony Tan Keng Yam will deliver his Opening Address in Parliament. His speech traditionally sets out the priorities, policies and programmes of the Government for its five-year term.

MPs will then debate the address for five days, starting from Jan 25.

First-term MPs like Jurong GRC's Tan Wu Meng will mark their debut in the House by joining this debate.

Dr Tan said that he will, over the coming months, try to better understand the concerns of residents in his Clementi ward. "One issue that has emerged is how we can continue to improve the way we look after the elderly, such as through greater inter-agency coordination."

Madam Halimah told The Straits Times yesterday: "The new Parliament will be meeting at a time when we are faced with many challenges such as an ageing population, slower economic growth due to a global slowdown, environmental issues and rising expectations.

"So there are plenty of issues for MPs to raise, but my advice is that they can't be experts in everything. They should select topics close to their hearts which they feel passionate about, so that they can speak with greater conviction."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2015, with the headline 'New Parliament to sit on Jan 15'. Print Edition | Subscribe