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NCMPs will have same voting rights as elected MPs: PM Lee

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 17:23
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong intends to amend the Constitution to give non-constituency members of Parliament (MPs) the same voting rights as their elected counterparts.

PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong intends to amend the Constitution to give non-constituency members of Parliament (MPs) the same voting rights as their elected counterparts.

Speaking during the debate on the President's Address on Wednesday, Mr Lee said NCMPs should have the ability to vote, even in the case of confidence motions, along with all the other restricted matters such as constitutional changes and supply bills.

NCMPs are appointed from the batch of losing candidates with the best results in a general election (GE).

Giving them the right to vote will mean they will be "equal in powers, though not in responsibility and scope," to constituency MPs, said Mr Lee, adding that there would be no more reason to perceive NCMPs as "second-class" MPs.

Mr Lee also announced in parliament on Wednesday that from the next GE, the minimum number of opposition MPs in the House will go up from nine to 12.

"Given that at least 30 per cent of voters vote against the government in any election, ensuring a minimum of 12 opposition MPs in a House of about 100 members is reasonable," he said.

The government will also maintain the existing Nominated MP scheme. Together, Parliament will have at least 21 non-ruling party MPs.

Mr Lee also said the next GE will see even smaller group representation constituencies (GRCs) and more single member constituencies (SMCs), continuing a trend from the last two polls in 2011 and 2015.

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