Roles and Duties
Speaker of Parliament
The Speaker of Parliament takes charge of the administration of Parliament and its secretariat, and presides over parliamentary sittings.
Duties of the Speaker include regulating and enforcing the rules of debate in the House, and putting the question for the House to debate on and vote.
The Speaker must remain impartial and fair to all MPs as she decides who has the right to speak.
Though the Speaker does not take part in the debates, she can abstain or vote for or against a motion if she has an original vote as an elected Member.
Madam Halimah Yacob was elected Speaker of Parliament on 14 January 2013. She resigned on 13 January 2013 as the Minister of State for Social and Family Development to take the position vacated by former People’s Action Party MP Michael Palmer, who stepped down on 12 December 2012.
Leader of the House
The Leader of the House is responsible for the arrangement of government business and the legislative programme of Parliament. He also proposes appropriate actions to be taken on any procedural matters arising in Parliament.
The Leader of the House is tasked with moving procedural motions relating to the business of the House during sittings, such as extending the time of sittings beyond the usual time as set out in the Standing Orders.
The position is currently held by Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is the Minister for Defence.
Singapore law does not provide for an official Leader of the Opposition, however there is the title - unofficial Leader of the Opposition - given to the MP who is the leader of the largest opposition party which is able and prepared to assume office if the government resigns.
The unofficial Leader of the Opposition post is given to Workers' Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang however, the WP chief declined the title earlier in September.
WP has six seats in Parliament following wins in the Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC in the May 2011 General Election.
Mr Chiam See Tong - then-leader of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) – previously held the unofficial Leader of the Opposition title after the 1991 General Election. The SDP then held three out of four opposition seats.
A Party Whip is an official in a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature.
In carrying out his duties, the Whip lists down the speakers for each item of business and estimates the time required so that everything can be completed within schedule.
The Whip also ensures that there are always sufficient party members in the Chamber to support the party's position and that MPs vote according to the party's line. Occasionally, he may "lift the whip" and allow MPs to vote according to their conscience.
The post is currently held by the Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong.