In a press conference on July 11, right after the 2020 General Election concluded, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong formally designated Pritam Singh, secretary-general of the Workers' Party (WP), as the official Leader of the Opposition (LO).
On July 28, the offices of the Speaker of Parliament and the Leader of the House said in a statement that Pritam will be given additional parliamentary privileges and resources for his new position.
New privileges and resources
These are his new privileges:
- Longer speaking duration for speeches, equivalent to that given to political officeholders.
- Will receive confidential briefings by the government on select matters of national security and external relations, as well as in the event of a national crisis or emergency.
In terms of additional resources, Pritam will receive:
- Allowance of S$385,000 a year, double the allowance of an elected Member of Parliament (MP). This works out to a little over S$32,000 per month.
- Additional allowance to hire up to three additional legislative assistants (on top of the allowance that all MPs receive to hire one legislative assistant and a secretarial assistant).
- A secretary to support him administratively.
- An office and a meeting room in Parliament House.
In addition to his new privileges and resources, Pritam will also have more duties as LO, including:
- Leading the opposition in presenting alternative views in parliamentary debates on policies, bills and motions.
- Leading and organising the scrutiny of the Government’s positions and actions in Parliament.
- To be consulted on the appointment of opposition members to Select Committees, including Standing Select Committees such as the Public Accounts Committee.
Pritam may also be called upon to take on other duties, such as attending official state functions and taking part in visits and meetings alongside members of the Government and the Public Service.
These duties and privileges have been conveyed to Pritam.
Leader of the House, Grace Fu, will make a statement in Parliament to formally set out the terms of LO. Parliament is scheduled to sit on Aug. 24, 2020.
In a Facebook post on the same day, Pritam gave his thoughts on the statement:Top image by Fasiha Nazren.