Youth engagement is the key to increased political participation says Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General on a visit to Singapore 

The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan has underlined the crucial role that parliament can play in encouraging youth engagement in the political process, especially with the 60% of the 2.4 billion population of the Commonwealth who are aged under 30, during a visit to the CPA Singapore Branch and the Parliament of Singapore.

The CPA Secretary-General brought the CPA Roadshows to Singapore during his visit with a lively workshop with over 50 students at the independent Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore where he spoke about the importance of the Commonwealth and of parliamentary democracy to the students aged from 13 to 15 years old. The CPA Secretary-General also spoke to students about the 2017 Commonwealth theme of a ‘Peace-Building Commonwealth’ launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth on Commonwealth Day and how the cornerstones on which peace are founded are respect and understanding for one another. 

The CPA Secretary-General was joined by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore, Hon. Lim Biow Chuan, MP, Member of the CPA’s International Executive Committee, at the CPA Roadshow, who also spoke to the students about Singapore’s Parliamentary System and his role as a Member of Parliament. The CPA Roadshows provide an opportunity for young people to learn about the political values of the Commonwealth such as diversity, development and parliamentary democracy; to discuss issues of concern about the society in which they live; and to meet local Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff and to find out about the work of the CPA. 

Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore, Hon. Lim Biow Chuan, MP
 said: “We are very grateful to the CPA Secretary-General, Mr Akbar Khan for bringing the CPA Roadshow to Singapore. The CPA Roadshow held at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was a great experience for the students. Through Mr Khan’s comprehensive presentation and the lively Q&A session, our students learned more about our great Commonwealth family and how, despite being so diverse in terms of people and culture, we share many common values such as parliamentary democracy, equality, tolerance and respect for one another.”

Some of the students attending the CPA Roadshow in Singapore were participants at the ‘moot’ Parliament competition which the Parliament of Singapore organises annually with the Ministry of Education and involves students drafting a ‘mock’ Bill and a Cabinet memorandum explaining the purpose of their Bill. As part of the ‘moot’ Parliament programme, the participants also visit Singapore’s Parliament House to debate certain selected Bills, while role-playing both Government and Opposition parties.

The CPA Roadshows are also designed to augment the existing Parliamentary Outreach Programmes that are currently being undertaken by many Commonwealth Parliaments. The Parliament of Singapore, in addition to its ‘moot’ Parliament competition, also has various programmes specifically designed to meet the needs of students of different age groups ranging from parliament tours, observation of sittings and a enrichment programme for secondary schools during the school holidays.

Earlier, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Mr Akbar Khan had called upon Madam Halimah Yacob MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore at Parliament House. The CPA Secretary-General outlined the range of parliamentary strengthening programmes offered by the CPA to all its member parliaments including the Parliament of Singapore, such as the recently launched CPA Parliamentary Fundamentals Programme, which offers a tailored and accredited course designed specifically to meet the developmental needs of Parliamentarians across Commonwealth jurisdictions and being delivered in partnership with two Commonwealth universities.

The Secretary-General highlighted also the importance of networks such as the CPA in providing a platform to share good practice in strengthening parliaments and the importance of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) network in promoting gender equality in parliaments following the CWP Regional Seminar for the South-East Asia Region held in Malaysia the previous week which was also attended by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore, Hon. Lim Biow Chuan, MP.

For images of the CPA Roadshow and CPA Branch visit in Singapore please click here.


Published Wednesday 19th April 2017.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), now in its 105th year with HM The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth as its Patron, exists to develop, promote and support Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth.

The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. Parliaments, their Members and officials learn from each other through CPA activities: Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conferences, Regional Conferences and other symposiums; Interparliamentary visits; Parliamentary Seminars and Workshops; Publications including The Parliamentarian, the Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments; and the Parliamentary Information and Reference Centre.

For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Secretariat, Westminster House,
Suite 700, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA,
United Kingdom
T: 44-20-7799-1460
F: 44-20-7222-6073
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