SINGAPORE: In the wake of the announcement that Minister Tan Chuan-Jin will be nominated as Speaker of Parliament, Government Whip Chan Chun Sing said the role of Speaker is a “very important position” in Singapore’s system of Government, and is likely to get even more significant.
Mr Chan, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, noted that there will be “even more complex challenges” Singapore will have to overcome as a country in the coming years, and he expects the debates in Parliament to be more robust.
“We need somebody with the stature, who is open-minded, who is fair, balanced, and can command the respect of all parliamentarians,” he said. “From what I know of Chuan-Jin personally, I think he will do a good job in this aspect.”
Mr Tan, who is Minister for Social and Family Development, will have to resign from the position, if he is elected by Members of Parliament as Speaker.
When asked by reporters to respond to the suggestion that Mr Tan is dropping out of the race to be part of Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership core, Mr Chan stressed that “all of us play different roles”.
“On one hand, when duty calls, we will perform different roles in different capacity, but on the other hand, we will continuously strengthen the team because our job of building Singapore is never done, and our job of getting a stronger and stronger team is never done. So this is ongoing work”.
“Our common aim is to serve Singapore and Singaporeans to the best of our ability,” he added. “From what I know of Chuan-Jin, this has been his passion all his life.”
Mr Chan said in response to questions if the appointment was a downgrade or demotion for Mr Tan, that “we have never considered it in that perspective”.
“We have always considered ourselves as a team, and each of us have different strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “Each of us will be required to play different roles at different stages of our development.”
Writing on Facebook earlier, Mr Chan said he is confident that Mr Tan will do his best in his new role.
"I’ve known Chuan-Jin for over 30 years. We were schoolmates, army mates and then Cabinet colleagues. I know his temperament well and am confident that he will do his best as Speaker of the House," he said.
"Chuan-Jin has always and will continue to serve Singaporeans with all his heart. He will have our full support."