Next Speaker of Parliament could be MP who was Absent from over 50 Percent of Parliament Sittings


Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Seah Kian Peng has been tipped as one of the possible replacements for Halimah Yacob, who has resigned as Speaker of Parliament to run for president.

Seah, who is currently MP for Marine Parade GRC, served as Deputy Speaker of Parliament for 5 years until he stepped down last January.

Speakers of Parliament preside over sittings and enforce rules for the orderly conduct of parliamentary business, and political observers noted that Seah is familiar with parliamentary rules and can hit the ground running.

But Seah’s attendance in parliament this year has been dismal.

He has been absent for 6 out of 10 parliamentary sittings.

Another front-runner for the Speaker of Parliament post is Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC MP Charles Chong.

Chong has been deputy speaker since 2011 and was appointed as Acting Speaker of Parliament following Mdm Halimah’s resignation.

Another possibility is to appoint a veteran minister, who would retire from the Cabinet to be the next Speaker.

Junior ministers are also possible candidates – Madam Halimah was a Minister of State when she was nominated as Speaker in 2013.

PM Lee will nominate a new Speaker when Parliament next meets.

Hopefully, Seah will turn up for this sitting in the event that he has been nominated.

This is the breakdown of the absenteeism rate for the 10 parliamentary sittings in 2017:

Absent 6 days

• Mohamad Maliki bin Osman (East Coast)
• Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade)
• Teo Chee Hean (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
• Vivian Balakrishnan (Holland-Bukit Timah)

Absent 5 days

• Azmoon Ahmad (Nominated Member)
• Ng Eng Hen (Bishan-Toa Payoh)

Absent 4 days

• Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade)
• K Shanmugam (Nee Soon)
• Mahdev Mohan (Nominated Member)

Absent 3 days

• Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh)
• Lim Hng Kiang (West Coast)
• Sim Ann (Holland-Bukit Timah)
• Sylvia Lim (Aljunied)

Absent 2 days

• Amrin Amin (Sembawang)
• Amy Khor Lean Suan (Hong Kah North)
• Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar)
• Ganesh Rajaram (Nominated Member)
• S Iswaran (West Coast)
• Kok Heng Leun (Nominated Member)
• Lee Yi Shyan (East Coast)
• Lily Neo (Jalan Besar)
• Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee)
• Rahayu Mahzam (Jurong)
• Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
• Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang)

Absent 1 day

• Cheng Li Hui (Tampines)
• Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh)
• Desmond Lee (Jurong)
• Heng Swee Keat (Tampines)
• Jessica Tan Soon Neo (East Coast)
• Koh Poh Koon (Ang Mo Kio)
• Kuik Shiao-Yin (Nominated Member)
• Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang)
• Randolph Tan (Nominated Member)
• Tan Chuan-Jin (Marine Parade)
• Teo Ser Luck (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
• Tharman Shanmugaratnam (Jurong)
• Yaacob Ibrahim (Jalan Besar)
• Yee Chia Hsig (Chua Chu Kang)

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