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Parliament must strive to be a beacon to the people

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With the greater contestation of ideas and rapid changes in the world, Parliament must channel and reflect the voices of the people and debate issues in a way that provides hope and clarity, said newly-elected Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday. This would require Members of Parliament to engage with Singaporeans and to gain their trust and respect, he added, in his first speech to the House as head of the legislature. Below is Mr Tan’s speech.

Honourable members, thank you for your support, your kind words and for electing me as the 10th Speaker of Parliament since our first legislative assembly.

I would also like to thank the members of the public who have expressed support for my nomination when the announcement came out just under a week ago.

Many were surprised, and it sparked off some discussion about the role of the Speaker. That is not a bad thing.

We do need fellow Singaporeans to be involved, and to gain a deeper understanding of not just the Speaker’s role but also that of Parliament, its proceedings and how all of us here contribute to making Singapore a better home for our people.

As Members of Parliament, whatever our stripes, we need to be accessible, relevant and real. We need to present the voices and needs of our individual constituents, but we need also to stand for a united Singapore, to speak with one voice in a fissiparous world.

The business of Parliament is multifarious.

In the first session of Parliament in December 1965, we saw the presentation of Bills that ensured Singapore’s independence, as........

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