|Ceremonial and Other Duties|
The Serjeant-at-Arms plays an important role in Parliament. He is the bearer of Speaker of Parliament's authority.
At the commencement of each Parliament sitting, the Serjeant shouldering the Mace, leads the Speaker, the Clerk of Parliament and the Deputy Clerk into the Chamber. He sits in the Chamber throughout the sitting to wait on the Speaker's orders3.
In the event of a disturbance in the Chamber or Public Galleries, the Serjeant will act under Speaker's authority and remove the offensive person from the premises. In the event a member of the public is required to present himself/herself before Parliament or a Parliamentary Hearing Committee, the Serjeant will execute the Speaker's warrant or 'summons', as commonly known, to the required person to appear before the committee.
By tradition in the Commons and here in Singapore, the Serjeant-at- Arms controls the access of all persons, including staff and visitors, into the House and by nature of such responsibilities manages the issuance of security passes and issuance of Admission Orders for Parliament sittings.
Other traditional duties include attending to protocol duties, attends to the Speaker's directions and performs duties assigned by the Clerk of Parliament.
Because many of these duties involve elements of security concerning the Speaker and Members of the House, the Serjeant is positioned in the Security Department. As a security person, his role included maintaining the security of the House including security officers from the outsourced agencies.
The Ceremonial Drill
When the Legislative Assembly was formed, there was no precedent on the ceremonial drill on the placement of the Mace in the formal Chamber setting. Understanding the need for such formalities, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Loke Weng Chee wrote to his counterparts in other Commonwealth countries to enquire about the drill. He then compiled notes on the drill and forwarded it to Speaker George Oehlers who decided on the adaptation of the procedures. Through trials and errors, the Serjeant-at-Arms, Mr. Mahmood bin Abdul Wahab perfected the drill.
The Mace drill has three sequences, namely, at the commencement of sitting, when the House goes into Committee, and at the suspension of a sitting. In all three sequences, the Serjeant-at-Arms, when not carrying the Mace, shall bow twice, once at the Bar and second, at the end of the Table of the House before he lifts the Mace or when he places the Mace on the Table. Before he returns to his desk he shall bow (after placing the Mace on the Table) and again when he is at the Bar (facing Speaker) before he returns to his desk.
At the Election of Speaker
When a new Parliament sits for the first time, the Mace is not place on the Table until the new Speaker has been elected. Hence, the Serjeant places the Mace on the brackets beneath the Table prior to the commencement. After the new Speaker is elected and has taken the Chair, the Serjeant proceeds to the Table to place the Mace on the Table.
When the President Address a New Parliament
At the Opening of a new Parliament or a new session of Parliament, the Serjeant, without the Mace, precedes the Clerks (the Clerk of Parliament, the Deputy Clerk and a Principal Assistant Clerk), the Speaker and the President in that order, into the Chamber. The President is flanked by his aide-de-camps in front and behind him.
3 The Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms may stand-in for him