SINGAPORE: Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh has clarified that he will donate half of the additional allowance he will get as the Leader of the Opposition (LO).
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Leader of the Opposition in Singapore will receive double the allowance of an elected Member of Parliament (MP). The annual allowance will be S$385,000, inclusive of the MP allowance, the Office of the Speaker of Parliament and Office of the Leader of the House said in a press release.
Mr Singh said on Facebook on Tuesday night that he will allocate "50 per cent of the LO salary, after taxes", to charity and for party causes.
These include assisting low-income residents in Hougang SMC, Aljunied GRC and Sengkang GRC through the WP Community Fund and the WP Grassroots Committee; community programmes in the three WP-held wards; charitable or worthy causes; and Workers’ Party needs.
On Wednesday, he added a note to his Facebook post: "For clarity, 50 per cent of the additional LO salary amounting to about S$96,000 per annum is dedicated to the above purposes. The actual amount will be less after income tax deduction. It is important I make this clear."
Mr Singh is Singapore's first official Leader of the Opposition, a position that was formalised after his party won 10 seats at the 2020 General Election.
Besides an allowance increase, he will also be given additional resources and parliamentary privileges such as the right of first response among MPs and the right to ask the lead question to the ministers.
His duties will include leading the opposition in presenting alternative views in parliamentary debates on policies, Bills and motions, and leading and organising the scrutiny of the Government’s positions and actions in Parliament.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday at the swearing-in ceremony of new office holders that the election has shown a strong desire among Singaporeans for greater diversity of views in politics.
"Voters want the PAP to form the Government, but they also want more robust debate of policies and plans. This trend is here to stay. We have to give expression to it, and evolve our political system to accommodate it, while maintaining our cohesion and sense of national purpose," he said.