By Andrew Loh
Two Members of Parliament (MPs) have raised questions about the use of Hong Lim Park after the 27 September incident involving the clash of two events, which has since led to charges being brought against one group of users of the park.
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, Zainal Sapari, has filed the following question for Monday’s sitting of the House:
“To ask the Minister for National Development (a) if he can give a full account of the incident that happened at Hong Lim Park on 27 September 2014; (b) whether there has been any non-compliance by the organisers of both events in ensuring public peace; and (c) whether there is any follow-up action to ensure that such incidents will not happen again.”
MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, Denise Phua, is asking about the use of Speakers’ Corner and the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre:
“To ask the Minister for National Development (a) whether Hong Lim Park is for the sole use of Speakers’ Corner participants; (b) what designated spots in Hong Lim Park are meant for Speakers’ Corner activities; (c) what is the list of activities permitted for Hong Lim Park; (d) when and for what activities can the adjacent Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre facilities such as the stage be allowed for use by Hong Lim Park users; (e) what standard operating procedures pertain to the use of Hong Lim Park and the adjacent Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre’s facilities; and (f) how the recent incident pertaining to the use of the same ground by YMCA and advocates of the Return-My-CPF group can be avoided.”
The questions were directed at the Minister of National Development, Khaw Boon Wan.
Lawyer for the six protesters of the “Return Our CPF” group, M Ravi, has written to the Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob, to highlight his concerns about the questions and issues raised by the MPs.
Mr Ravi said that his firm has been instructed to prepare and file an application to the High Court for leave to enter a Constitutional challenge on the Parks and Trees Act, and a formal written appeal to the Minister for National Development has also expressly reserves the Constitutional challenge.
“It is fully appreciated that in a case of this nature involving a matter that is of obvious concern to the public in general and to Members of Parliament in particular it is to be expected that there will be questions asked and issues raised for discussion in Parliament,” said Mr Ravi.
As such, he called for Mdm Halimah’s discretion in this matter.
“It will no doubt be your view, very properly, that Members will not need to be reminded that they should not utter anything on the floor of the House which would affect the evaluation of the merits of proceedings which are imminent or before the courts, or influence the result of proceedings, in particular the likelihood of an acquittal.”
Letter from M Ravi to the Speaker of Parliament