Report below. Self explanatory. The less commented, the better.
Several names suggested for Speaker role
TWO former Cabinet ministers, two office-holders and two senior lawyers were among the names suggested to be the next Speaker of Parliament by political observers yesterday, a day after Mr Michael Palmer's shock resignation.
They are: Retired ministers Wong Kan Seng, 66, and Mah Bow Tan, 64; Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah and Minister of State Halimah Yacob; and lawyer-MPs Alvin Yeo and Hri Kumar Nair.
Others include Deputy Speakers Charles Chong and Seah Kian Peng. Both would be most familiar with the role and an easy choice to move up, said some observers.
But it may also be possible that someone with more political heft is appointed, especially as the House has the most number of opposition MPs (nine) since 1966, said Nominated MP (NMP) Eugene Tan.
Former deputy prime minister Wong and former national development minister Mah, now backbenchers, could help maintain orderly proceedings during debates, said Mr Tan.
To a lesser extent, Ms Rajah, and Madam Halimah are contenders too because they are office-holders, said their parliamentary colleagues.
"But Ms Rajah would find it very difficult to sit there for many years and not be able to speak up in debates," said an MP who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Speaker presides over sittings and enforces rules for the orderly conduct of parliamentary business.
He or she also need not be an elected MP. "That is provided for in the law, but we have not had that for many years," said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, when asked on Wednesday at a press conference announcing Mr Palmer's resignation, owing to his extramarital affair.
Age could come into play as well in who is picked, said veteran MP Inderjit Singh.
Mr Palmer, 44, had said in September last year, after he was nominated for the post, that his sense was that the party wanted "someone new and younger".
The youngest is Mr Nair, 46. Following him is Ms Rajah, 49, Mr Yeo, 50, Mr Seah, 51, Madam Halimah, 58, and Mr Chong, 59.
If the House is inclined to appoint - as had happened before - someone with a legal background, Ms Rajah, who holds the law portfolio, Mr Nair and Mr Yeo could be front runners.
Singapore's first four Speakers were legally trained, as is Mr Palmer, the country's eighth.
Said former NMP Siew Kum Hong: "You want someone with experience and gravitas, and among the non-office-holders, Mr Yeo and Mr Nair stand out."
As for Ms Rajah, a former deputy managing director of law firm Drew & Napier, an MP said: "When it comes to knowing the law and parliamentary procedures, no one else would be better."