Singapore

Parliament begins half-time recess, reopens on May 7

Parliament is hitting its reset button. It is taking its customary mid-term break, and will reopen next month with a fresh agenda shaped by the fourth-generation ministers.

The President's Address to kick off the second session of Singapore's 13th Parliament will be the first to be drafted by the younger team.

In a statement yesterday, the Government said that the speech, which will take place at 8.30pm on May 7, will announce the Government's priorities, policies and programmes for the remainder of the current term of office.

It will be followed by a parliamentary debate on the speech.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had earlier said the address - which is drafted by the Government of the day but is delivered by the President - "will bear the imprint of the fourth-generation (4G) leadership, who are taking on greater responsibilities, and putting forth their ideas for Singapore".

Yesterday, one of the 4G leaders, Education (Higher Education and Skills) Minister Ong Ye Kung told The Straits Times that the speech will review the progress made by the Government during the first half of the term and outline the priorities for the next half.

The 4G team will be playing an active role in the ensuing debate, which typically begins a week after the address. It usually lasts about one week.

The speech will also be notable for another reason: it will be President Halimah Yacob's first President's Address after her election as Singapore's eighth president last September.

With the announcement of the Parliament recess, the next major item now on the political calendar is a Cabinet reshuffle.

Fourth generation ministers are expected to be given heftier responsibilities, as they prepare to take over the reins from Mr Lee after the next general election, due by 2021.

There will also be another key change on the opposite side of the aisle: For the first time in nearly two decades, Mr Low Thia Khiang will not be at the helm of the opposition.

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY

Singapore Politics