SINGAPORE - Outgoing Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin has the right qualities to be the next Speaker of Parliament, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Sept 5).
Responding to news of Mr Tan's new appointment, Mr Chan told reporters that he expects future parliamentary debates to become more robust as Parliament becomes more diverse and the challenges that Singapore faces become more complex.
"We need somebody with the stature, who's open minded, fair, balanced, that can command the respect from all parliamentarians. From what I know of Chuan-Jin personally, I think he'll do a very good job in this respect," said Mr Chan, reiterating what he said in a Facebook post
"I've known Chuan-Jin for over 30 years. We were schoolmates, army mates and then Cabinet colleagues. I know his temperament well and I am confident that he will do his best as Speaker of the House. Chuan-Jin has always and will continue to serve Singaporeans with all his heart. He will have our full support," Mr Chan said on Facebook.
Both men have been seen as part of the core of the next generation of leaders. However, the Speaker of Parliament plays no role in coming up with policies.
When asked about whether Mr Tan’s appointment was a step down, Mr Chan said members of the next generation team play different roles in different stages.
"We have never considered it in that perspective. We've always considered ourselves as a team, and each of us have different strengths and weaknesses, and each of us will be required to play different roles at different stages of our development," he said.
Asked if the appointment meant that Mr Tan was no longer part of the next generation of leaders, Mr Chan replied: "All of us in Government, we all do different things, perform different roles, each according to our own strengths.
"Regardless of our position, our common aim is to serve Singapore to the best of our ability. From what I know of Chuan-Jin... he will continue to serve to the best of his abilities."