Does the Speaker of Parliament have to be a Member of Parliament?

Last updated on May 7, 2011

A question during the General Elections 2011 was whether Zainul Abideen Rasheed had to be a Member of Parliament in order to be Speaker of Parliament. He had been earmarked as such by the People’s Action Party, and there were claims that he had to be elected in order to be Speaker. If that were the case, Malay voters might vote for him to have a Malay as the Speaker.

But the answer is no, one does not have to be a Member of Parliament to be a Speaker of Parliament, according to section 40(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

However, if Mr Zainul is not elected to be a Member of Parliament, the PAP with its likely majority in Parliament may well decide to choose someone who has been elected to be the Speaker of Parliament.