Appointment of opposition leader 'a very significant move': ESM Goh

Lee Li Lian: Leader of opposition appointment 'one of the best outcome of GE 2020'.

Martino Tan | July 12, 2020, 11:56 AM

Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong said in a Facebook post on July 11 that it is a "very significant move" for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to formally appoint Workers' Party (WP) leader Pritam Singh as the Leader of the Opposition.

Earlier on July 11, at the conclusion of GE2020, PM Lee said in a press conference that he called WP chief Pritam Singh personally to congratulate him and formally acknowledged him as the Leader of the Opposition.

The WP will have 10 opposition MPs in the next parliament, out of 93 seats.

In his Facebook post, PM Lee also congratulated the WP for their strong performance, and said that he looks forward to them participating in and contributing to the debate in Parliament, and to the national debate.

Goh: Opposition MPs to go beyond merely serving as a check & balance

ESM Goh said that the outcome of GE 2020 is good for Singapore and our parliamentary democracy.

"Over many GEs, Singaporeans have consistently shown that they are collectively discerning and rational in the way they vote. They gave the PAP a clear mandate to govern even with the reduced vote share," he observed.

Goh noted that PM Lee has acknowledged voters’ desire for more opposition MPs in Parliament with the leader of the opposition appointment.

PM Lee said that Pritam will be "provided with appropriate staff support and resources to perform his duties".

Goh also noted that opposition party Progress Singapore Party (PSP) qualifies for two Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seats and can use them to air its views in Parliament.

Goh urged opposition MPs and NCMPs to now "go beyond merely serving as a check-and-balance".

Goh said that they can put forward their alternative policies and solutions so that Singaporeans would know the choices available besides the government’s.

Goh concluded by congratulating all candidates for a well-fought election.

Pritam: I will carry out my duties to the best of my abilities

Pritam said that he looked forward to serving as the leader of the opposition, and added that he "will carry out my duties to the best of my abilities".

Pritam said that he will endeavour to ensure that WP under his leadership will remain loyal to Singapore and all Singaporeans.

Singapore's parliamentary system is modelled after the Westminster system in the United Kingdom.

In the U.K., the Leader of the Opposition commands an additional salary to the parliamentary salary received as an MP.

The Leader of the Official Opposition also picks a "Shadow Cabinet" to follow the work of government departments.

This is similar to the parliamentary system in Australia, where the duties of the office is recognised in terms of remuneration and resources.

Lee Li Lian: Leader of opposition appointment "one of the best outcome of GE 2020"

WP's Lee Li Lian said that the appointment of the leader of opposition has to be one of the best outcomes of GE2020.

As a former MP, she knew "how frustrating it is to try to get figures and statistics to support policy-making".

Lee hopes that more people can view the opposition differently, adding that WP opposition is "as pro-Singapore as any Singaporean".

She said the WP is in this situation together with the government and does not want Singapore to fail.

Top photo from Pritam Singh Facebook.