Post of Parliament Speaker should be full-time

The current part-time option for the speakership of Parliament should be removed, making it a full-time-only appointment.

With that, Speakers of Parliament should be barred from taking up any private-sector appointments (Tan Chuan-Jin appointed chairman of Healthway's new advisory board; April 6).

The Speaker of Parliament is the second in line to stand in for the President, after the chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers.

In terms of the Singapore order of precedence, he ranks below the President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and the Chief Justice, but above all other ministers and political office holders.

He represents our Parliament abroad and hosts heads of foreign legislatures.

His official car carries the number plate SP 1.

It is odd for the holder of such a high office of the state to work concurrently in the private sector, even if only part-time and without any obvious conflict of interest.

The 2017 Review Of Salaries For President, Prime Minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Political Appointment Holders And Members Of Parliament pegs the salary of a full-time Speaker to that of an entry-level minister, and half that for a part-timer.

We should do away with the part-time option and remunerate our Speaker at a level commensurate with the duties and standing of the office.

He must not be seen sitting in meetings of boards of directors or advisers of private companies, or advising clients on legal matters.

Cheng Shoong Tat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2018, with the headline 'Post of Parliament Speaker should be full-time'. Print Edition | Subscribe