Yes, you read that right. As the newly minted Leader of the Opposition (LO), the Workers' Party's (WP) Pritam Singh will be getting double the pay of an elected MP — a cool $385,000 annually.
But there's no such thing as a free lunch. Singh's pay raise also comes with extra responsibilities and duties, according to a joint press release by the Office of the Speaker of Parliament and Office of the Leader of the House today (July 28).
Here's what the job will entail.
- An annual allowance of $385,000. This is inclusive of the $192,500 that elected MPs receive.
- More air time in Parliament. As LO, Singh's speech duration will be on par with that of political officeholders'. He'll also be allowed the right of first response among the MPs and will be able to ask the lead question to Ministers.
- The LO will be privy to briefings on "issues of national interest". On top of information available to the other MPs, Singh will receive confidential briefings on select matters and in national crises.
- Budget for more assistants. On top of the allowance MPs receive to hire a Legislative Assistant and a Secretarial Assistant, Singh will receive support for three more Legislative Assistants. He'll also have a secretary to help him out with administrative matters.
- Set up shop in Parliament House. While this perk comes amidst a rising trend of working from home, we're sure Singh won't complain about having an office and a meeting room in Parliament House.
The additional duties
- Lead the opposition (no surprises there). The LO will lead the presentation of alternative views in parliamentary debates on policies, Bills and motions. He will also be at the forefront of scrutinising the government's positions and actions.
- Have a say in the appointment of opposition MPs to Select Committees. The Standing Select Committees oversee various areas for the term of Parliament, including breaches of parliamentary privilege and public petitions. There are also ad hoc committees which are formed to discuss certain policy issues or bills.
- Show more face. As LO, Singh may be required to attend official state functions, visits and meetings.
Of course, this is all in addition to his duties as MP for Aljunied GRC and his role as secretary-general of WP, which won 10 seats in GE2020.
In a Facebook post today, Singh acknowledged his additional duties and already seems to be hitting the ground running.
He will confer with Progress Singapore Party NCMPs Hazel Poa and Leong Mun Wai to extend his support to them, he wrote.