SINGAPORE – Quiet fell over the House on Monday as MPs held a minute of silence in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died last Thursday aged 96.
MPs bowed their heads, along with British High Commissioner to Singapore Kara Owen, who was in the public gallery.
In a speech, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah recognised the “reciprocal relationship of warmth and affection” between the Queen and Singapore and described her death as marking “the end of an era”.
She said Queen Elizabeth had a unique role in Singapore’s history.
Singapore was under the symbolic rule of the British monarchy until the 1960s, including during its transition from a British crown colony to an independent state.
At the inaugural session of the Legislative Assembly – the forerunner to the current Parliament – formed after the landmark 1955 General Election, the Queen sent a congratulatory message.
“I am glad, at the opening of the first session of the Legislative Assembly under the new Constitution of Singapore, to express to my people in Singapore my great satisfaction at the significant advance in their constitutional progress, which is marked by this occasion,” the Queen said in the message that was delivered in the House on April 22, 1955.
“The Council of Ministers will now have to deal with the many problems of government, and upon them will fall the chief burden of responsibility for the continued advancement and prosperity of Singapore, and for the welfare and safety of its citizens.”
Parliaments around the world have held minutes of silence to mark the life of the Queen, who died peacefully last Thursday afternoon at Balmoral, her Scottish estate, after a reign of 70 years.
She was head of not only the United Kingdom but also of the Commonwealth, a group of 56 nations across the globe of which Singapore is a member.
In 1947, on her 21st birthday, she had pledged in a broadcast from Cape Town to devote her life, “whether it be long or short”, to the service of the Commonwealth.