Legislative assistants, the unseen backbone of Parliament

Legislative assistants who help MPs have had roles expanded in past 30 years and call for change

Mr Ron Tan (above), who works in the National University Health System's research office, is legislative assistant to Workers' Party MP Low Thia Khiang. PHOTO: WORKERS' PARTY Ms Koh Hui Hoon has worked as a legislative assistant full time for 28 year
Mr Louis Ng (left), an MP for Nee Soon GRC, with his team of legislative assistants, including Mr Elliot Poh (second from right, in black), who also has a full-time job as a data analyst for an e-commerce firm. PHOTO: COURTESY OF LOUIS NG
Ms Sujatha Selvakumar (above) is a full-time lawyer and legislative assistant to Ms Rahayu Mahzam, an MP for Jurong GRC. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SUJATHA SELVAKUMAR
Ms Sujatha Selvakumar (above) is a full-time lawyer and legislative assistant to Ms Rahayu Mahzam, an MP for Jurong GRC. PHOTO: COURTESY OF SUJATHA SELVAKUMAR
Mr Ron Tan (above), who works in the National University Health System's research office, is legislative assistant to Workers' Party MP Low Thia Khiang. PHOTO: WORKERS' PARTY Ms Koh Hui Hoon has worked as a legislative assistant full time for 28 year
Ms Koh Hui Hoon has worked as a legislative assistant full time for 28 years, helping as many as six MPs simultaneously at one point. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KOH HUI HOON
Mr Ron Tan (above), who works in the National University Health System's research office, is legislative assistant to Workers' Party MP Low Thia Khiang. PHOTO: WORKERS' PARTY Ms Koh Hui Hoon has worked as a legislative assistant full time for 28 year
Mr Ron Tan (above), who works in the National University Health System’s research office, is legislative assistant to Workers’ Party MP Low Thia Khiang. PHOTO: WORKERS’ PARTY
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By his own count, Mr Louis Ng, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, has spoken on 109 Bills and filed 151 questions for Parliament last year - more than double that of some MPs.

The People's Action Party (PAP) MP credits an "amazing" team of 10 legislative assistants (LAs), many of them millennials, who critique his speeches, do research to back up his arguments, and bring their expertise from various fields to the table.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2019, with the headline Legislative assistants, the unseen backbone of Parliament. Subscribe