Pritam Singh (Singaporean politician)

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Pritam Singh
Pritam Singh Singapore 4 (cropped).jpg
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
24 August 2020
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byLow Thia Khiang[1]
Secretary-General of the Workers' Party
Assumed office
8 April 2018
ChairmanSylvia Lim
Vice-ChairmanFaisal Manap
Preceded byLow Thia Khiang
Member of Parliament
for Aljunied GRC
(Eunos)
Assumed office
7 May 2011
Preceded byZainul Abidin (PAP)
Personal details
Born
Pritam Singh

(1976-08-02) 2 August 1976 (age 46)
Singapore
Political partyWorkers' Party
Spouse
Loveleen Kaur Walia
(m. 2012)
Children2
Alma materNational University of Singapore (BA)
King's College London (MA)
Singapore Management University (JD)
Occupation
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • author
Military service
Branch/serviceSingapore Army
Years of service1994–2002
RankMajor[2]

Pritam Singh (born 2 August 1976) is a Singaporean politician, lawyer and author who has been serving as Leader of the Opposition since 2020 and Secretary-General of the Workers' Party since 2018. Singh has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Eunos division of Aljunied GRC since 2011.

Singh graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. In 1999, he won the Straits Steamship Prize for being the top undergraduate student in history and political science.[3] He was later awarded the Chevening Scholarship for postgraduate studies at King's College London, where he completed a Master of Arts degree in war studies in 2004.[4][5]

Singh joined the Workers' Party and was elected to Parliament in the 2011 general election, and has retained his parliamentary seat in subsequent elections. That same year, Singh completed a Juris Doctor degree at the Singapore Management University as well as qualifying for the bar. In 2013, Singh joined the litigation and dispute resolution practice at Donaldson & Burkinshaw, Singapore's oldest law firm. Singh was previously Chairman of the Aljuined Hougang Town Council from 2016 to 2020.

Singh was elected Secretary-General of the Workers' Party on 8 April 2018 as part of a leadership renewal, succeeding Low Thia Khiang. After the 2020 general election, his party emerged as the largest opposition party in Parliament, and he was appointed Leader of the Opposition by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Early life and education[edit]

Singh was born on 2 August 1976 in Singapore.[6][7] He attended Woodsville Primary School, Belvedere Primary School, Saint Thomas Secondary School — under the Normal (Academic) stream, and Jurong Junior College.[8] He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2000 under the Singapore Armed Forces's Local Study Award scholarship.[9]

He also graduated from King's College London in 2004 with a Master of Arts degree in war studies under the Chevening Scholarship.[2]

Singh also completed a diploma in Islamic studies from the International Islamic University Malaysia in 2005.[10] In 2007, Singh founded Opinion Asia, an online commentary syndicate with a focus on issues related to Asia and Asians.[11] He obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the Singapore Management University in 2011.[2][12]

Career[edit]

Military career[edit]

Singh enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces in 1994 and served as a commissioned officer between 1996 and 2002. During his service, he was a combat engineer.[13] At present, he is a reservist commander with the rank of Major.[2]

Legal career[edit]

In 2013, Singh joined the litigation and dispute resolution practice at Donaldson & Burkinshaw, Singapore's oldest law firm.[12][14]

Political career[edit]

Singh posing with a family at a hawker centre
Singh with an elderly constituent

Singh joined the Workers' Party while completing a juris doctor degree at the Singapore Management University, citing its "level-headedness and leadership" as his primary motivator.[15]

During the 2011 general election, Singh was part of the five-member Workers' Party team which contested in Aljunied GRC. The team included the party's secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, chairwoman Sylvia Lim and members Chen Show Mao and Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap. They faced the team from the incumbent People's Action Party (PAP), which was led by Foreign Affairs minister George Yeo. The Workers' Party's team defeated the PAP team by 72,289 votes (54.7%) to 59,829 (45.2%),[16] marking the first occasion in Singapore's history in which an opposition party had won an election in a GRC.

Since the election, Singh has represented the Eunos ward within the constituency in Parliament.[17] Singh was appointed as the assistant secretary general on the party's executive council.[18]

Leadership of the Workers' Party[edit]

In 2017, after Low Thia Khiang announced that he was contemplating retirement as well as wanting to rejuvenate the party for "younger blood", Singh was widely regarded to be the next chief of the Workers' Party prior to the general election that would have been scheduled to be held by 2021.[19] Subsequently, Singh was eventually confirmed as secretary-general of the Workers' Party on 8 April 2018 after Low stepped down for a leadership self-renewal.[20]

2020 general election[edit]

The results of the 2020 general election saw Singh, together with Sylvia Lim, Muhamad Faisal Manap and former NCMPs Gerald Giam and Leon Perera, being re-elected to represent the Aljunied GRC constituents, with an increased share of the vote of 59.95%, defeating the PAP team that received 40.05%.[21] The Workers' Party had also won Hougang SMC, its stronghold which has been held since 1991,[22] and the newly created Sengkang GRC,[21] the first time the Workers' Party had won a general election in a second GRC.[23]

Singh is a member of the Estate and Liaison Committee and the Tenders and Contracts Committee. He is the Town Councillor of the Public Relations Committee in the Aljuined Hougang Town Council.

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

Following the 2020 general election in which the Workers' Party won ten seats, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong decided to formally designate Singh as Leader of the Opposition, and said that he would be "provided with appropriate staff support and resources" to carry out his new parliamentary appointment role.[1][24] Prior to this, the leader of the opposition was an unofficial de facto position in Parliament as the Constitution and standing orders of Parliament did not provide for such a position. With the creation of the formal office, Parliament announced that the appointment holder will draw an annual salary of S$385,000, double the salary of a regular Member of Parliament. Singh made the decision to donate half of the allowance increase from his new appointment for his party, charitable causes as well as his residents' needs.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Singh is a practicing Sikh.[26] He is married to Loveleen Kaur Walia, a Singaporean theatre practitioner,[27] and the couple have two daughters.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "GE2020: Election results a clear mandate for PAP but also reflects desire for more diversity of voices in Parliament, says PM". The Straits Times. 11 July 2020. Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Workers' Party's new Secretary-General: 10 things to know about Pritam Singh". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  3. ^ Exclusive Interview with Pritam Singh, Univantage, SMU, October 2011
  4. ^ 2011's Chevening Scholars Archived 18 July 2012 at archive.today, British High Commission Singapore website, retrieved 8 April 2012.
  5. ^ News from our alumni Archived 25 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine, kcl.ac.uk, retrieved 8 April 2012.
  6. ^ Koh, Jamie. "Sikh community". Infopedia. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  7. ^ "MP | Parliament of Singapore".
  8. ^ Teo, Melissa (17 September 2021). "Dropouts, neighbourhood schools and Normal stream: These people made it big without going to 'elite schools'". AsiaOne. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Pritam Singh is Singapore's first formally designated Leader of the Opposition". Tatler Asia. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  10. ^ Pritam Singh Archived 26 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, wp.sg, retrieved 6 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Pritam Singh" (PDF). law.smu.edu.sg. The Straits Times. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  12. ^ a b "SINGH Pritam". Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2013., Donaldson & Burkinshaw website, retrieved 3 February 2013.
  13. ^ "'Loss of fellow NSman hits close to home': WP's Pritam Singh on Aloysius Pang's death". CNA. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  14. ^ "Pritam Singh elected as new Workers' Party chief". sg.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  15. ^ Hussain, Zakir (2 May 2011). "Postgraduate law student is potential WP candidate" (PDF). The Straits Times. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  16. ^ Parliamentary General Election 2011: Aljunied GRC Archived 30 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine , singapore-elections.com, retrieved 6 April 2012.
  17. ^ MP for Aljunied GRC, Eunos Division Archived 6 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine , aljunied.wp.sg, retrieved 6 April 2012.
  18. ^ Executive Council Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine , wp.sg, retrieved 6 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Pritam Singh tipped to be next WP chief". The Straits Times. 14 November 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Pritam Singh elected new WP chief, succeeding Low Thia Khiang". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  21. ^ a b Chew Hui Min (11 June 2020). "GE2020: Workers' Party retains Aljunied GRC with wider margin against PAP". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  22. ^ Yeoh, Grace (11 July 2020). "GE2020: Workers' Party retains Hougang SMC with 61.19% of votes". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  23. ^ Toh, Wen Li; Lim, Yan Liang (11 July 2020). "GE2020 official results: WP wins Sengkang GRC with 52.13% of votes, clinching its second GRC". The Straits Times.
  24. ^ "PM Lee Hsien Loong on GE2020 results: 'We have a clear mandate'". YouTube. Archived from the original on 12 July 2020. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  25. ^ "WP's Pritam Singh clarifies he will donate half his salary increase as Opposition Leader, not half his entire salary". The Straits Times. 1 August 2020.
  26. ^ Kor, Kian Beng (26 April 2011). "Chen: I never stopped being a Singaporean" (PDF). The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  27. ^ "WP's Pritam Singh ties the knot in colourful ceremony". Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  28. ^ Sim, Royston (17 August 2018). "WP chief Pritam Singh now father of 2; baby girl delivered by emergency caesarian". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Singapore
New office Leader of the Opposition
2020–present
Incumbent
Preceded by Unofficial Leader of the Opposition
2018–2020
Position abolished
Preceded by Member of Parliament
for Aljunied GRC
(Eunos)

2011–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by Secretary-General of the Workers' Party
2018–present
Incumbent