By Leong Sze Hian

NCMP Mrs Lina Chiam asked the following question in Parliament in May this year:-



Mrs Lina Chiam asked the Prime Minister of the number of persons granted Singapore citizenship annually from 1980 to 2011, what are the annual breakdown figures in terms of (i) permanent residents; and (ii) foreigners.


Mr Teo Chee Hean (for the Prime Minister):

In the past 5 years, there were on average about 18,500 individuals granted Singapore Citizenship (SC) annually. Close to 90% were Permanent Residents (PRs) when they were granted citizenship. The others who were granted SC were children of Singapore citizens born overseas who subsequently registered for Singapore citizenship, as well as minors of successful SC applicants. Under the Constitution, minors do not need to obtain PR status first in order to be eligible for citizenship.


New citizens at 5-year low?

It was also revealed that the number of new citizens granted in 2011 was a 5-year low of 15,777, compared to 18,758 in 2010.

However, the footnote says that “This excludes about 4,000 S C applicants who were granted citizenship in-principle in late 2011, who were only granted citizenship in early 2012 as they had to go through the Singapore Citizenship Journey”.

After S C in-principle approval, they have up to 2 months to complete the three
components of the Singapore Citizenship Journey.


Actually in effect was higher than the previous year?

So, news reports (“Why Singapore needs new citizens”, AsiaOne, Apr 27) gave the impression that the number of new citizens had declined significantly last year, when in actual fact, the number was even higher at 19,777 (15,777 plus 4,000), compared to the previous year's 18,758.


Influx of new citizens will be curtailed?

So what happened to the consistent rhetoric that the influx of foreigners and new citizens will be curtailed?

(Please see the end of this article for the accompanying table to the subject answer in Parliament)


Thanks to NCMP who is paid about one-seventh of what a MP gets

So, it took a question from a NCMP whom I understand is paid only $2,333 per month, compared to an MP's $16,042, to flush out the starking revelation that new citizens last year was in effect more than the previous year.


Highest paid, but work the least in the world?

Singapore's Parliament usually sits for only about 2 – 3 days per month (usually with a break in June/December), from 1.30pm to 7pm at the latest. except during the Budget debate (February – March)  when there are about 10 days straight in sitting.

In contrast, the United Kingdom's House of Commons generally meets Monday – Friday, all year round, except for about  5 “recesses” (breaks) each lasting for about 1 – 6 weeks.

So, the highest paid Parliamentarians in the World (Singapore) arguably work the least!


Note: “Singapore Citizenship Journey

The Singapore Citizenship (SC) Journey was launched in Feburary 2011, The SC Journey consists of both online elements and experiential learning programmes, and will culminate in a citizenship ceremony to officially welcome the new citizen as a full-fledged member of the Singaporean family.

Components of the SC Journey

  1. Singapore Citizenship e-Journey

    The SC e-Journey will allow new Singapore citizens to learn about Singapore at their own pace and convenience. The e-Journey will cover Singapore’s history and key policies, national symbols, law and governance, the importance of Total Defence and our efforts at building better communities.


  1. Singapore Experiential Tour

    English SET Brochure
    Chinese SET Brochure
    Tamil SET Brochure
    Malay SET Brochure

The Singapore Experiential Tour will bring new Singapore citizens to key historical landmarks and national institutions such as the National Museum of Singapore, the Parliament House and the URA centre, where they will learn about our national history, our parliamentary system and rule of law, and our urban vision for the future.

  1. Community Sharing Session

    Community Sharing Sessions will provide an opportunity for new Singapore citizens to mingle and interact with grassroots leaders and volunteers from their local community who will share their experiences of living in a multi-racial and multi-religious society. New citizens will also learn how they can participate or volunteer in the community. Family members are also encouraged to participate in the programmes offered to the new Singapore citizens, to make this learning journey meaningful for the entire family.


New citizens who have been granted in-principle approval for Singapore Citizenship (SC) will undergo the SC Journey before they can complete their citizenship formalities. They have up to 2 months to complete the three components”.