The Straits Times says

More debate, less partisan posturing

The evolution of Singapore's parliamentary system, moving in tandem with that of its political process, is apparent in the formal appointment of a Leader of the Opposition. Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh will be given the right of first response among Members of Parliament, have more time to speak in the House, and receive confidential briefings from the Government. He also will be paid double what other MPs earn, and get allowances to hire more staff. These are substantive official privileges that reflect the recognition of the opposition's greater profile in Parliament, one that was gained in the last general election when the electorate also expressed a desire for a diversity of parliamentary voices. The WP now has 10 MPs, while the Progress Singapore Party will have two Non-Constituency MPs.

Mr Singh has said that the broad scope of duties, privileges and remuneration he will receive is largely in line with the conventions of the British Parliament. Singapore has modified the Westminster system over the years, through schemes such as group representation constituencies and nominated MPs, to keep Parliament responsive to changing national realities. The latest change is being made in the same spirit, although it will result in a degree of convergence with the British Parliament, where the role of opposition is an entrenched part of the legislative process.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2020, with the headline 'More debate, less partisan posturing'. Print Edition | Subscribe