SINGAPORE - Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing paid tribute to veteran opposition MP Low Thia Khiang in Parliament on Monday (May 14), saying he "is a fellow Singaporean and very much a part of Team Singapore".
"While we may not always agree with (Mr Low's) perspectives or methods, we nevertheless appreciate his efforts to work together to build a better Singapore", Mr Chan said.
He was the first fourth generation leader to speak during the debate on the President's Address, and had highlighted the need for Singapore to ensure it has the strongest leadership team possible.
This is when, in a rare move, he placed on record the leaders' appreciation of Mr Low, who led the Workers' Party (WP) over the past 17 years as its secretary-general before handing over the post to Mr Pritam Singh in April.
Speaking in Mandarin, Mr Chan said: "Although Mr Low may have different perspectives but from his speeches, we can detect his pride in Singapore and his determination to defend our sovereignty. Thank you, Mr Low."
In earlier speeches, Mr Low had spoken about Singapore's foreign policy, including how the country must respond as China grows in prosperity and influence.
Mr Chan added that the Government looks forward to similarly working with new WP chief Pritam Singh and his party to put the interest of Singapore and Singaporeans first.
The WP became Singapore's most successful opposition party since independence under Mr Low's leadership.
It made history in the 2011 general election when Mr Low led a team to victory in Aljunied GRC.
The WP now has six MPs and three Non-Constituency MPs in Parliament.
While opposition politicians have been recognised by leaders of the incumbent People's Action Party in the past - longest-serving opposition MP Chiam See Tong was described in 1996 by then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew as a "voice of sanity" - this is believed to be the first time one has received a formal tribute in Parliament.