NCMP Leong Mun Wai apologises for FB posts, says it was not his intent to impugn Speaker

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SINGAPORE – Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai apologised on Tuesday (March 8) night for his posts on Facebook claiming that he was prevented from asking questions on the debate on the Manpower Ministry’s (MOM) funds.

In a private rationalization shortly earlier than the tip of the day’s Parliament sitting at 8pm, he mentioned that it had not been his intent to impugn the Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin or parliamentary processes.

“Today, I would like to sincerely and unreservedly apologise to the Speaker and this House for my Facebook comments of 12.52pm and 12.53pm on March 7, 2022, and the video I posted at 6.55pm on March 7, 2022,” he mentioned.

“And the statements therein which impugn the Speaker and the processes of the Parliament.”

In response, Deputy Leader of the House Zaqy Mohamad mentioned he accepted Mr Leong’s apology, and known as on all MPs to “resist any attempt to lower the standing or dignity of this House”.

In his apology, Mr Leong, who’s from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), mentioned that through the debate on MOM’s funds on Monday, he had hoped to ask Manpower Minister Tan See Leng a “very important point about the displacement of Singaporean PMEs”.

He mentioned: “In my social media post, I was trying to highlight that some amount of discretion and flexibility with the Standing Orders will go a long way in enhancing our discussion in this House.”

Mr Leong mentioned he had taken down the Facebook submit and feedback at 5.30pm on Tuesday, and that he undertakes not to repeat such phrases once more.

“I acknowledge that I had not set out all the facts in my post, and thus gave a misleading impression.”

Mr Leong additionally confirmed that he can be placing up an analogous apology on Facebook as requested by Mr Zaqy earlier on Tuesday.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Mr Leong mentioned he will probably be submitting follow-up questions to the problems he had raised for future sittings.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Zaqy mentioned that Mr Leong had in his social media posts impugned Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin and the method of Parliament, and in addition misrepresented how the controversy proceedings for MOM had been ended on Monday.

“This is dishonourable and a contempt of Parliament, and breaches the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act,” he mentioned then.

The posts steered that Mr Tan may have known as on Mr Leong “but deliberately did not do so for improper reason”, mentioned Mr Zaqy.

Mr Tan had on Monday defined the method for the debates and that it was his responsibility to implement the cut-off occasions for the proceedings, however regardless of this Mr Leong had proceeded to put up a video and submit that impugned the Speaker and the method of Parliament, added Mr Zaqy.

Following Mr Leong’s apology, Mr Zaqy mentioned that in different juridictions, there are examples the place procedural guidelines of Parliament “are used to prevent or frustrate the government of the day from carrying out its proper functions”.

“It would be completely contrary to our interests for this to occur in this House,” he mentioned.

Singapore has developed a set of procedures and practices to information Parliament in discharging its duties in an efficient and environment friendly method, he added.

“The rules have been designed and fine-tuned over the years and have worked in ensuring that important issues to us are brought up before the House and robustly debated while allowing business to be completed without undue delay.”

He added that Mr Leong himself ought to acknowledge this, given the lengthy debate six months in the past on two motions on jobs and Singapore’s international expertise coverage.

That 10-hour debate in Parliament final September stretched previous midnight and noticed 4 political office-holders rebut the PSP’s assertion that the Government’s international expertise coverage has price residents jobs.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Tan made a press release within the House that MPs had been knowledgeable of the cut-off time for MOM final Thursday, and once more on Monday in Parliament’s Daily Working Paper. He famous that 30.5 minutes had been allotted for clarifications, however that he had allowed the controversy to proceed for 48 minutes until the cut-off time of 12.40pm.

Ten MPs made clarifications, together with 4 opposition members and one Nominated MP. Mr Leong was not the one MP who may not ask a clarification on the finish of the controversy, he added. Others not known as upon included PAP MPs Edward Chia, Louis Ng, Melvin Yong, Yeo Wan Ling in addition to Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera and Nominated MP Janet Ang.

It is his responsibility as chairman of the debates on numerous ministries’ budgets to finish every debate when the cut-off time for that ministry is reached, Mr Tan mentioned.

“As the Chair of the Committee of Supply (COS), I will continue to ensure that the proceedings in the COS is undertaken in a fair and orderly manner,” Mr Tan mentioned utilizing the formal title for the debates.

This 12 months’s debates on every ministry’s funds noticed greater than 600 cuts – speeches by MPs – filed, tallying up to greater than 50 hours of debate, famous Mr Zaqy.

“I don’t think anyone can reasonably say that the budget was not extensively debated,” he mentioned.

He added that there are different avenues for points to be raised in subsequent parliamentary sittings.

“(MPs) all play a part in ensuring that robust debate can take place here and that Parliament remains a trusted and respected institution and where issues can be raised fairly and can be scrutinised by the public,” concluded Mr Zaqy.

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