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Prospective Speaker of Parliament could be MP who skipped 60% of parliamentary sittings

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Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, Seah Kian Peng, may be the next Speaker of Parliament, since Halimah Yacob has vacated her position this Monday to contest the upcoming reserved presidential election.

Seah, who served as Deputy Speaker of Parliament for 5 years until last January, has been absent for 6 out of 10 parliamentary sittings in 2017.

The MP who has been in public office since 2006 is also the CEO of NTUC Fairprice Co-operative Ltd, having overseen the organisation from April 2010.

Other potential nominees for the position include former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Indranee Rajah who serves as Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, and incumbent Deputy Speakers Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan and Punggol East MP Charles Chong.

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Chong has been appointed acting Speaker of Parliament until Parliament convenes again to select Halimah’s successor. He also served as acting Speaker when Michael Palmer resigned from the position in 2012 after his extra-marital affair became public, before Halimah was elected to the role.

Lianhe Zaobao ran a report recently where an SMU associate professor said that the next Speaker could be an “unexpected candidate.” The professor suggested that Holland-Bukit Timah MP Christopher de Souza, Sembawang MP Vikram Nair and Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai could be nominated to the position.

Meanwhile, here is a handy list on which MPs have skipped parliamentary sittings this year, according to Parliament’s website:

Absent for 6 out of 10 sessions

• Mohamad Maliki bin Osman (East Coast)
• Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade)
• Teo Chee Hean (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
• Vivian Balakrishnan (Holland-Bukit Timah)

Absent for 5 out of 10 sessions

• Azmoon Ahmad (Nominated Member)
• Ng Eng Hen (Bishan-Toa Payoh)

Absent for 4 out of 10 sessions

• Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade)
• K (Nee Soon)
• Mahdev Mohan (Nominated Member)

Absent for 3 out of 10 sessions

• Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh)
• Lim Hng Kiang (West Coast)
• Sim Ann (Holland-Bukit Timah)
(Aljunied)

Absent for 2 out of 10 sessions

• Amrin Amin (Sembawang)
• Amy Khor Lean Suan (Hong Kah North)
• Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar)
• Ganesh Rajaram (Nominated Member)
• S Iswaran (West Coast)
• Kok Heng Leun (Nominated Member)
• Lee Yi Shyan (East Coast)
• Lily Neo (Jalan Besar)
• Ong Teng Koon (Marsiling-Yew Tee)
• Rahayu Mahzam (Jurong)
• Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
• Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang)

Absent for 1 out of 10 sessions

• Cheng Li Hui (Tampines)
• Chong Kee Hiong (Bishan-Toa Payoh)
• Desmond Lee (Jurong)
(Tampines)
• Jessica Tan Soon Neo (East Coast)
• Koh Poh Koon (Ang Mo Kio)
• Kuik Shiao-Yin (Nominated Member)
• Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang)
• Randolph Tan (Nominated Member)
• Tan Chuan-Jin (Marine Parade)
• Teo Ser Luck (Pasir Ris-Punggol)
Shanmugaratnam (Jurong)
• Yaacob Ibrahim (Jalan Besar)
• Yee Chia Hsig (Chua Chu Kang)

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