At least 18 non-ruling party MPs after next elections

From the Straits Times

PARLIAMENT on Monday passed laws ensuring at least 18 people not from the ruling party will enter Parliament after the next election.

The House voted 74 to one in favour of the amendments to the Constitution that would increase the maximum number of Non-Constituency MPs from six to nine and entrench the Nominated MP system.

The three-hour-long debate included a prolonged exchange between Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng, who presented the Bill, and the two Workers’ Party parliamentarians Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim.

The debate focused mainly on the move to increase the number of NCMPs, something both WP members opposed in principle.

Separately, three Nominated MPs, Mr Calvin Cheng, Assoc Prof Paulin Straughan and Ms Audrey Wong also spoke passionately to justify their existence in the House.

The passage of the Bill marks just one part of the move to effect the political changes announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last May. On Tuesday, Parliament is set to debate the rest of the rule changes to the Parliamentary Elections Acts and the Presidential Elections Act.

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