Photo of Tan Chuan Jin from Straits Times

In a forum letter to state media Straits Times, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong published a letter defending Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin who is working only part-time as the S$550,000/yr Speaker of Parliament. The letter said that every PAP Speaker of Parliament since 1963 has been working part-time and the Speaker position itself is part-time because “Parliament does not sit every day of the month”.

You may read the full letter here:

“Mr Cheng Shoong Tat suggests the speakership of Parliament should be made a full-time-only appointment and that Speakers should be barred from taking up any private-sector appointments (Post of Parliament Speaker should be full-time; April 7).

First, the speakership has long been a part-time appointment since Parliament does not sit every day of the month. Second, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin is not the first Speaker to assume private-sector appointments. Almost every Speaker since Mr E.W. Barker in 1963-64 has done so.

There is nothing wrong in principle with the Speaker assuming such appointments, so long as the roles do not pose conflicts of interest. No such conflict has arisen over almost 60 years.

Chang Li Lin (Ms)
Press Secretary to Prime Minister
Prime Minister’s Office”

There has been increasing criticisms against Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin who have picked up two directorships in two state-owned companies. The former army general has zero experience in the private sector and know nothing about zoology, where he is Chairman of Mandai Park Holdings, and medicine, where he is Chairman of Healthway Medical. The appointments were made through cronyism, which is a common form of legalised corruptions practised by the ruling party government.