Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin pledges to ensure equal opportunity to speak & diversity of views in Parliament

Tan reflected on the past year and encouraged Singaporeans to stay optimistic in 2021.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 02, 2021, 10:06 AM

The first Parliament sitting of 2021 will take place on Jan. 4.

On Jan. 1, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin reflected on the past year and shared his hopes for the new year.

Singapore spirit remains unchanged amid Covid-19

At the start of his reflection, Tan reminded Singaporeans to not let our guard down against Covid-19 as we enter 2021.

He thanked frontline and essential workers for working tirelessly during Covid-19 period.

As Singaporeans adapted to the Covid-19 situation, the nation kept up with the Singapore spirit, Tan noted.

"Our lives have forever been transformed, from the way we work, socialise, and even relax with leisure travel grinding to a halt. And yet, one thing remains unchanged – our Singapore spirit. We have witnessed once again our trademark courage, determination and discipline in the face of any crisis."

Tan added that the Parliament continued to function effectively with safe management measures implemented during the Covid-19 period.

"This bears testimony to the essential and fundamental role Parliament must continue to play in our democracy with its law-making and fiscal responsibilities," he said.

Continue to ensure equal opportunity to speak and diversity in views in Parliament

Tan said that he is pleased with the quality of discussion and debates in Parliament thus far and he commended the first-time MPs for holding their own against more seasoned MPs.

In the coming year, Tan said that he will continue to ensure all MPs who wish to speak will get an equal opportunity to do.

"I will continue to ensure that every MP who wishes to speak has had an equal opportunity to raise diverse and substantive viewpoints, and to raise concerns for a thorough and robust debate in the Chamber. This is ultimately what being an MP entails, no matter which side of the House you are from."

Tan said that diversity in views and debates are part of the process of making robust and incisive decisions.

He, along with seven other MPs, is interviewing and selecting Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs).

They have received 61 proposal forms and will be appointing up to nine NMPs, Tan updated.

Continue to enhance public awareness of how Parliament works

At the end of his blog post, Tan also commits to enhancing public awareness and understanding of how Parliament works.

The Parliament has and will continue to use more visual aids such as photographs and infographics to interest and inform Singaporeans.

In the future, Parliament proceedings will be live-streamed too.

Tan said that by enhancing public awareness of how things work in Parliament, Singaporeans can better appreciate the complexities in policy-making.

This helps to build trust and confidence in our institutions and combat the spread of misinformation.

Therefore, he is happy with the "good progress" made in public engagement via social media.

At the end of his blog, Tan encouraged Singaporeans to stay optimistic, prepared and united in 2021.

You can read the full blog post here.

Top image from Parliament in Singapore/Facebook