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Prime Minister of the
Republic of Singapore
Incumbent
Lawrence Wong
since 15 May 2024
Government of Singapore
Prime Minister's Office
Style
Type Head of government
AbbreviationPM
Residence Sri Temasek
Appointer President
Term length5 years, renewable
Inaugural holder Lee Kuan Yew
Formation3 June 1959; 65 years ago (1959-06-03)
Deputy Deputy Prime Minister
Salary S$2,200,000/US$1,641,791 annually
(including S$192,500 MP salary)
Website www.pmo.gov.sg

The prime minister of Singapore [a] is the head of government of Singapore. The president appoints the prime minister on the advice and consent of the Cabinet of Singapore. The incumbent prime minister is Lawrence Wong, who took office on 15 May 2024. [1]

Singapore is modelled after the Westminster system. The prime minister only governs with the confidence of the majority in Parliament; as such, the prime minister typically sits as a Member of Parliament (MP) and leads the largest party or a coalition of parties. In practice, the prime minister is the leader of the majority party in Parliament.

History

The office of prime minister succeeded the office of chief minister in 1959 after Singapore had attained self-governance from the United Kingdom, as the State of Singapore, [2] [3] with Lee Kuan Yew being sworn in as the first prime minister on 5 June 1959. [4]

Concerning Singapore's autonomous status in the Malaysia Agreement, the title of prime minister remained unchanged after Singapore's merger with Malaya, Sarawak and North Borneo to form Malaysia in 1963, despite the existence of the prime minister of Malaysia for the entire federation of which Singapore was briefly a part of. [5] [6]

Following the independence of Singapore in 1965, the office of Prime Minister was retained, with the president of Singapore becoming a ceremonial head of state. In 1991, amendments to the Constitution of Singapore vested executive powers in the presidency, along with discretionary veto powers over the government. [7] The Constitution also vests "general direction and control of the government" in the Cabinet, with the president almost always bound to act on the advice of the Cabinet or any minister acting under the Cabinet authority. Thus, in practice, most of the actual work of governing is done by the prime minister and Cabinet. [8]

Under Article 26(4)(a) of the Constitution of Singapore, the prime minister may appoint a Cabinet minister, subject to presidential approval, as acting prime minister if the prime minister is on medical leave, away from Singapore or is granted a leave of absence under Article 32 of the Constitution. [9] [10] The deputy prime minister or senior minister will usually become the acting prime minister. Still, any Cabinet minister may be appointed to the role.

Authority

Under the Constitution, executive power is nominally vested in the president. However, the president can only exercise that authority on the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under general Cabinet authority. Hence, in practice, the prime minister, as the Cabinet's leader, does most of the actual work of governing.

The prime minister is responsible for overseeing the government's day-to-day affairs and executing government policy. As leader of the majority party in Parliament, the prime minister is also responsible for passing legislation through Parliament.

The prime minister also nominates the speaker of Parliament and leader of the house, who are responsible for arranging government business and organising legislative programmes, usually under the directive of the prime minister and the Cabinet. [11]

The prime minister chooses the other members of the Cabinet by advising the president; the president must exercise their powers in accordance with the advice of the prime minister. The prime minister may change, retain, or revoke any sitting minister's appointment under their prerogative. [12] The prime minister also advises the president on appointments, such as Attorney-General, and Permanent Secretary of a ministry. [13] [14]

The prime minister can advise the president to make a Proclamation of Emergency; the president issues the Proclamation if satisfied. [15]

The prime minister can declare a defence or security measure, [16] and has executive authority over the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) through the Armed Forces Council, which consists of Minister for Defence, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), Chief of Defence Force, Chief of Army, Chief of Air Force and Chief of Navy; all of whom are appointed by the president under the prime minister's advice. [17]

Privileges

Sri Temasek is the prime minister's official residence, though none of the prime ministers have ever lived there. The Istana is the working office of the prime minister. [18]

The prime minister is protected by the Specialised Security Command of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), who also ensure the protection of the president, Cabinet ministers, and visiting foreign dignitaries. [19]

The annual salary package the prime minister would receive, including the 13th-month bonus, Annual Variable Component, and National Bonus, which is twice the MR4 benchmark, stands at S$2.2 million.

As there is no one to decide on the annual performance bonus for the prime minister, the prime minister's bonus will be based only on the National Bonus. [20] The prime minister is also on the Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient (MSO) scheme—where an additional 2% of their gross monthly salary will be credited into their Medisave account. [21]

The prime minister's annual salary was S$3.07 million before a salary review in 2011. [22] On 21 May 2011, a committee was set by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to review the salaries of the prime minister as well as the president, ministers, members of Parliament and other political officeholders. [23] After the recommended wage reductions by the committee were accepted in Parliament, the prime minister's salary was reduced by 36%—including the removal of his pension to S$2.2 million or approximately US$1.7 million at that time. [22]

Nonetheless, Singapore's prime minister remains the world's highest-paid political leader. [24]

List of officeholders

Political parties
No. Portrait Name
Constituency
(Birth–Death)
Election Term of office Political party Cabinet
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Lee Kuan Yew
(1923–2015)
MP for Tanjong Pagar SMC (1955–1991)
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC (1991–2015)
1959 5 June 1959 28 November 1990 31 years, 176 days PAP Lee K. I
1963 Lee K. II
1968 Lee K. III
1972 Lee K. IV
1976 Lee K. V
1980 Lee K. VI
1984 Lee K. VII
1988 Lee K. VIII
2 Goh Chok Tong
(born 1941)
MP for Marine Parade SMC (1976–1988)
MP for Marine Parade GRC (1988–2020)
28 November 1990 12 August 2004 13 years, 258 days PAP Goh I
1991 Goh II
1997 Goh III
2001 Goh IV
3 Lee Hsien Loong
(born 1952)
MP for Teck Ghee SMC (1984–1991)
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC (1991–present)
12 August 2004 15 May 2024 19 years, 277 days PAP Lee H. I
2006 Lee H. II
2011 Lee H. III
2015 Lee H. IV
2020 Lee H. V
4 Lawrence Wong
(born 1972)
MP for West Coast GRC (2011–2015)
MP for Marsiling–Yew Tee GRC (2015–present)
15 May 2024 Incumbent 58 days PAP Wong I

Timeline

Lawrence Wong Lee Hsien Loong Goh Chok Tong Lee Kuan Yew

See also

References

  1. ^ Malay: Perdana Menteri Republik Singapura, Chinese: 新加坡共和国总理; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó Zǒnglǐ, Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசின் பிரதமர், romanized: Ciṅkappūr Kuṭiyaraciṉ Piratamar
  1. ^ Kok, Xinghui (15 May 2024). "Singapore's new PM takes office pledging to lead his own way". Reuters. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  2. ^ Hoe Yeen Nie (2 June 2009). "State of Singapore came into being 50 years ago on 3 June". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 8 July 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Statesmen keep an old date". Singapore Free Press. 18 November 1959. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  4. ^ "The Cabinet to be sworn in today". The Straits Times. 5 June 1959. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Kuan Yew: Don't let the extremists create more trouble". The Straits Times. 31 July 1964. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Kuan Yew to open PAP branch". The Straits Times. 20 June 1964. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  7. ^ "The powers of the President". gov.sg. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 24 Cabinet". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  9. ^ Article 26, Clause 4, Section a of the Constitution of Singapore (13 August 2022)
  10. ^ Article 32 of the Constitution of Singapore (13 August 2022)
  11. ^ Rei, Kurohi (20 August 2020). "Tan Chuan-Jin to be nominated Speaker, Indranee to be Leader of the House, when Parliament reopens". Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 25 Appointment of Prime Minister and Ministers". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 34 Permanent Secretaries". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 35 Attorney-General". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 150 Proclamation of Emergency". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of Singapore: Section 151A Defence and security measures". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Singapore Armed Forces Act: Section 8 Establishment of Armed Forces Council". Singapore Statutes Online. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". The Istana. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Leading the Specialised Security Command". Singapore Police Force.
  20. ^ "Ministers received average national bonus of 4.1 months over last 5 years". TODAYonline. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Do Ministers get free healthcare?". gov.sg. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  22. ^ a b "White Paper – Salaries for a Capable and Committed Government". Public Service Division. 10 January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Committee to review salaries of the President, Prime Minister and Political Appointment Holders" (Press release). Prime Minister's Office. 22 May 2011. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  24. ^ Mathew, Jerin (28 March 2015). "Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong remains highest paid country leader with $1.7m annual salary". International Business Times. Retrieved 15 April 2020.

External links