Parliament to open at 2 locations for first time in S'pore history, Parliament House & The Arts House

The Arts House was the Old Parliament House until 1999.

Darryl Laiu | August 21, 2020, 08:40 PM

The opening of the new session of parliament will be held on Aug. 24, but in two separate locations, simultaneously at the Parliament House and the Arts House.

This is the first time that an opening of parliament will be held in more than one location.

One of four places parliament can be held

Under the constitution, Singapore allows for arrangements to be made for parliament and its committees to sit at two or more places.

In the President's Proclamation on Aug. 14, there are four other places which the first session of the 14th parliament may be held from Aug. 24 to Nov. 20.

These are:

  • The Arts House
  • NTUC Centre
  • The Treasury
  • Civil Service College

Special measures due to Covid-19

Guests other than the Members of Parliament (MPs) are traditionally invited as observers of proceedings of the opening of parliament.

The proceedings include the taking of oaths and making of affirmations by all MPs, as well as the President delivering her address for the opening of parliament.

In light of safe distancing measures that have to be implemented, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin decided that the proceedings will take place across two locations as an added precaution.

MPs will be taking their oaths and making their affirmations from the chamber in their respective locations. President Halimah Yacob will deliver her address from the Chamber in Parliament House.

Old Parliament House

The Arts House was chosen because it is close to the Parliament House, and it has sufficient seating capacity for safe distancing measures to be taken.

The Arts House was also the Parliament House until 1999.

The very first parliamentary session was opened at the Old Parliament House by then President Yusof bin Ishak on Dec. 8, 1965.

On Mar. 26 2004, the Old Parliament House re-opened as The Arts House after renovations costing S$15 million.

Top image from Wikimedia Commons and Weekend Notes