leekuanyew

Special Parliament sitting

Today, Parliament will sit at 4pm for a special session at which MPs will pay tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

The session, to last around two hours, will hear 11 MPs speak on the contributions made by Singapore's founding Prime Minister and their impact on the country.

Defence Minister and Leader of the House Ng Eng Hen and Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang are on the list.

Before the MPs pay their tributes, Speaker of the House Halimah Yacob will make introductory remarks, in which she will recount the role Mr Lee played in shaping Parliament.

Mr Lee, who represented Tanjong Pagar for 60 years, died on Monday at age 91.

"The sitting is a special one as there are no other items on the agenda except for this tribute to Mr Lee Kuan Yew," Madam Halimah told The Straits Times.

The list of speakers covers different segments of the population. Dr Ng told The Straits Times: "A representative group of MPs are invited to make their tributes. These include office-holders and backbenchers, Government and non-Government MPs, senior and newer MPs, and an MP from the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's constituency."

Speakers include former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng, unionist Seng Han Thong, Nominated MP Thomas Chua, president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Senior Minister of State Masagos Zulkifli.

Mr Vikram Nair of the People's Action Party (PAP) will speak in Tamil. He said Mr Lee's vision of a multiracial, equal society was one of his greatest contributions, adding: "Singapore is one of the best places to be a minority in."

Another speaker is Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong, a wheelchair user with peroneal muscular dystrophy, whose choice is reflective of Singapore being an inclusive society. Said Ms Chia: "There are many ordinary folk who want to pay tribute to Mr Lee, and I'm thankful to have the opportunity to do so in Parliament."

Rounding off the list are Minister of State Sim Ann, PAP MP Christopher de Souza and Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC who had been helping to take care of the needs of residents in Mr Lee's ward in the past few years.

A minute of silence will be observed at the end of the tributes.

All MPs, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, will then pay homage to Mr Lee.

Only invited guests can attend the sitting and they include members of the Old Guard, grassroots leaders, students, citizens from all walks of life and the media.

Participants will wear black ribbons to mark the occasion, and readers can keep up with The Straits Times' live coverage of the event at http://leekuanyew.straitstimes.com/ST/lky-live-blog/index.html. The sitting will also be covered live on 938 LIVE, Channel News Asia, Parliament's website, and www.rememberingLeeKuanYew.sg.

rachelay@sph.com.sg