Guest posting by someone concerned about misconceptions if Oppositions wins a GRC or three.
Can opposition MPs prevent bills being blocked from Parliament? What happens
if there is a sudden surge from the present 2 opposition MPs?
-> Assuming PAP wins the majority of the seats in this election, the PM will appoint elected MPs from PAP to form the cabinet. The cabinet can still present Bills for Parliament to deliberate. However the PAP MPs are subject to the Whip, so they cannot vote against the party’s position. As long as PAP MPs forms a simple majority in Parliament, even if the opposition MPs collude, they cannot prevent the Bills from being passed. NCMPs have no voting rights.
What is the requirement to amend constitution?
-> Constituion is the supreme law in Singapore. It requires a 2/3 majority to pass any amendment to the Consitution. Assuming if opposition wins Hougang SMC, Potong Pasir GRC, Aljunied GRC and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, it means 12 elected opposition MPs. Assuming PAP does not life the Whip, this is still way short of 1/3 required to block consitutional amendments. NCMPs have no voting rights.
Going by the same scenario, why we do need 12 opposition MPs as compared to the current 2?
-> Only elected MPs have voting rights. Although they may not have sufficient voting powers to block amendments or passing of new laws, more elected opposition MPs can question the proposed Bill and Constitutional amendments as well as other goverment policies. This will hopefully lead to more transparency.
Assuming WP wins Aljunied GRC, does it mean Low Thia Kiang or Sylvia Lim will take over as Foreign Affairs Minister.
-> As long as PAP forms the majority, the PM will appoint elected MPs from PAP to fill the cabinet. So if George Yeo loses the Aljunied GRC election, he will not be able to sit in the new caninet. The PM will have to appoint another elected PAP MP (either current or new appointment holders) to take over the position.
What is the role of the Speaker of Parliament?
-> The Speaker has overall charge of the administration of Parliament and its secretariat. His or her official role is to preside over parliamentary sittings, moderating debates and making decisions based on the Standing Orders of Parliament for the proper conduct of parliamentary business. The Speaker does not participate in debates, but can abstain or vote for or against a motion if he or she is entitled to do so by virtue of being an MP.