The Leader of the House, Grace Fu, demanded Workers' Party Sylvia Lin to apologise to Parliament regarding her comment on the goods and services tax (GST) hike, and to withdraw her statement.
Ms Grace Fu is in charge of government business and procedure and order in Parliament. She then asked Ms Lim to do so by Thursday (8 March), before the end of the ongoing Parliament sitting.
Ms Lim, MP for Aljunied GRC, voiced her suspicion that the Government had intended to introduce a GST hike immediately, but that it backed down after test balloons it floated got a negative response.
Some Cabinet ministers and senior ministers of state have come out to respond to Ms Lim's comment, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat stated that she was in effect accusing the Government of being untruthful.
Readers online commented on Ms Fu's demand.
Philip Lim wrote, "Sylvia Lim asked a valid and logical question, debated objectively on the issue which was what this parliament is all about.
Sadly instead of addressing issue, the ruling party pap seems more interested in taking things to a personal level.
What is happening to this country now?"
Nicholas Guo wrote, "It's scary to live in Singapore. When u accused govt of their wrong doing, they will sue you until your pants drop! That's why Singaporeans chose to keep quiet."
Benson Tan wrote, "The public is upset with the GST hike. Instead of allaying our fears, the government chose to focus their wrath on an opposition MP for querying the hike. Three ministers attacked her. Plain obvious the government does not care for us. They care for their own reputation. Vote in more opposition!"
Aston Tay wrote, "If her question reflects what all her constituents want to know, why should she apologies? I also think that the government is testing the water. What is wrong with that? We all know our government likes to do that before implementing anything!"
Muthu Balakrishnan wrote, "You know why these rotten PAP Ministers keep harping on this and chasing shadows? Because they want to distract people’s attention from the GST hike which has created a furor and promised to adversely affect PAP’s vote in the next GE."
Augustine Kwa wrote, "Its a parliament house, not a court house.
Without ah kong, all these clowns trying to be funny and abuse their power?
One of Parliament's main roles is to examine and challenge the work of the government through questioning ministers, debating and committee work .
The speaker allowed the question, so why should she apologize?"
Bodhi Aria wrote, 'Why papaya keep begging for apologies . Sylvia Lim is voice behalf of Singaporeans."
Ah Teong wrote, 'There's nothing to withdraw or apologise. What she had said is true. We need more strong opposition who dare to speak up inside parliament. No yes sir type please."
Kent Ong wrote, "If she apologize, this implies she is apologizing on behalf of fellow Singaporeans, so are you implying we need to apologize to this PAP government?"
Boon Heong Lee wrote, "If Ms Sylvia asked a question, just answer loh. What's the issue? No wonder we're in such a stage because all MIW seldom ever ask questions."
Tay Denver wrote, "Hey state media, bey sian huh? Everyday fried overnight fried rice, keep on repeating this news??? Government built state of art rubbish should got say sorry boh? Overspent in youth Olypmic got say sorry?"
Ah Hong wrote, "I prefer a parliament have healthy questions n answers than keep focusing sue and ask for apology. If misunderstanding, just answer to the questions to make it clear for everyone."
Dolly Peh wrote, "Instead of clarifying the main issue, PAP prefer to side track and demand for apology which is more important to them."
Voni Wen wrote, "Only raising question also became allegation. Sometimes those 10% things that were discussed in the parliament were really amusing. Some MPs raised real concerns of people. Anything also allegation. Use law to sue, then what are discussion/debates for? How would we have MP that's willing to speak up for us? Hope Grace Fu can dedicate her time on some other topics more meaningful for our country."
Stanley Tan wrote, "This is a ploy by the PAP, it doesn’t matter if what Sylvia said is true or not, or if the apology is warranted. They just want to keep making WP look bad, spewing words like ‘dishonest’, ‘wrong’ and constantly associate such negativity with WP. So that eventually over time the public’s perception about WP will always remain negative."
Jimmy KF wrote, "Grace Fu do you know that you should first apologise to all Singaporeans that you waste our tax payer money just to build rubbish bin to throw all our money's inside."
Charlie Teo wrote, 'Grace Fu. Please apologise to the residents of yuhua by tomorrow also for using your authority to reserve and park at their red lots. Who do you think you are to be able to reserve parking lots? You are just a public servant meaning to serve the public and not to be served."
Lionel Tay wrote, "Why apologize when she got the right to voice the people concerns? I have never seen any PAPies apologize...I only see constant arrogance and bullying."
Shayful Kamal wrote, "Don't apologise, your suspicion was valid. Plus we are still waiting for them to apologies for overspending on a bloody rubbish bin."
LuCen Wang wrote, "She is voicing her suspicion. Do citizens have the right to think, believe, suspect? We need a younger generation of parliamentarians who are not so touchy."
ShaoWei Li wrote, "We've just proven to the world that we are not a Democracy. Sure there's no freedom of speech, but what's even worse is when we cannot voice what people have in mind and every spoken word becomes a cause for litigation. Why should WP withdraw a question? Shall we surface every question raised by students, working adults, politicians etc in front of the court? Should everything published be taken as gospel? There's no room for dialogue? Should every opposition leader be represented by a lawyer in the chambers?"
W.h. Lau wrote, "Govt good for nothing but just catching people and ask for apology. In a debate, there is always exchange of words and ideas. If they cannot take it, leave!"
Wee Chon Kiat wrote, "I guess this type of bullying tactics says it all. I don't think you can shut everyone up my dear minister. If you doesn't want to have a different voice then why have an election and a Parliament in the first place. Might as well shut everything down."
Charlie Teo wrote, "Dear citizens. This is the type of people we do not want to be in parliament. Please wake up and vote her out in the next GE. Seems she is not there to serve but to be served. Vote her out in the next GE."
Rauros Tay Cong Run wrote, "I find this oddly familiar to scenes back in Primary School days, when one child demands the apology from another child because what the latter child did was wrong in the former child's opinion. Frankly, I seldom watch such Parliamentary speeches. And having watched this one, I am disappointed to be hearing a speech on such issues when you can obviously find more urgent issues to address. To put it more directly, considering the salary she draws, I don't think going up to the podium to ask others to "Say sorry!" should be such a huge portion of her job scope."
Adam Sng wrote, "When my wife brought up the topic about immigration with me, she express great sadness about the current state our country is in. Coming from someone like her who is a die hard PAP supporter, it really speak volumes about the confidence our current leaders bring."
Lee Lai Lai Amy wrote, "What is a parliament for if you can not ask questions and resolve suspicions? What a group of petty people and bullies!"
Williams James Soh wrote, "So now, even saying test balloons is considered offensive and slanderous. Sorry state of politics when scoring points outweigh the needs of the people."
Des Tan wrote, "Why is she keep asking people to apologize in the Parliament?!"
Alan Fong wrote, "Get Charles Chong to apologise first since it has been proven that he lied. This is even a more serious offense lying to voters."
Ron Moraes wrote, "Sylvia, thanks for bringing up what (some) people on the ground are thinking about. It's a healthy question which gives the chance for the ruling party to agree or refute. Otherwise it'll always linger in (some) people's minds."
Darryl Kang wrote, "Actually, what is wrong with floating test balloons? You do survey before you launch something new. You check the ground sentiments before implementing something. Is there anything wrong with that? If they didn't do it then didn't do it. If they did, then they did. What is so bad until need to apologise?"
Raymond Koh wrote, "Should they ask all Singaporeans who think like this to apologies as well ? This bullying tactic is unbecoming. No wonder the IBs are acting so high handed as well."
Amran Robani wrote, "Silly. Sylvia Lim raised a suspicion shared by many Singaporeans and did so without masking the fact that it was just that: a suspicion.
That helped the government on 2 fronts:
(1) Gave the government an honest and unsweetened feedback of ground sentiments; and
(2) Presented to the government an opportunity to refute and make its case.
And yet here we are, again, reading about Grace Fu demanding an apology and retraction. Groundhog day. Silly Groundhog day."
Alvin Peh wrote, "The issues PAP are concerned and working on during LKY time vs. The issues PAP are concerned and working on today. 4th generation PAP - sounds nice but doesn't know its priorities. Maybe Singaporeans have been paying them too much their ego is over the mountain."
Matthew Manimaran Marsee wrote, "Shame on PAP. Workers Party voice is the citizens voice and is we the citizens having all this doughts. So if we normal citizens ask, we are sued till our pants drop then why the opposition MPs ask on our behalf. Anyway there is no use of clearing Paps name has we the citizens have lost all confidence in their Government."
Fabian Tay wrote, "Disgrace-fu. You are in this position because your dad is LKY press secretary. Stop disgracing yourself further."
Karlson Yap Guorong wrote, "End of the day- most PAP MP did not touch on ground issues of what Singaporeans wanted to voice out. It is good to have WP in the house to speak out those queries that Singaporeans are concerned. If voicing out is considered as allegation to government. Then it is better to have 89 seats of one party only so everyone in the house speak the same tune."
Andy Yeo wrote, "MIWs parliament debate is totally waste of time and not constructive at all! There are many more important issues to discuss rather than wasting time to try to fix opposition party members!"
Bee Kwan wrote, "I don't even know much about what this year budget is about and what was debated except PAP kept on pushing the point that workers party Sylvia Lim must apologise. Surely the 2018 budget is more than this right?"
Kuantangoh Spencer wrote, "Just like kids,making demand after demand,from one highly paid members to another,repeating the same over and over.
Demand usually associated with threat where responsive action will be taken to achieve its aim.In this case,she has the immunity to express her view on the motives inherent with Mr Heng’s early announcement for hike in GST.
A more pragmatic approach to prove her wrong is by your actions two year down the road.
You are wasting taxpayers money on 1st world parliament.
Move on, please."
Ong Alan wrote, "They should be ashamed. Need to have three ministers to keep asking for a macham apology and statement retraction. WP ask questions is also because citizens want a proper answer, and not to bring a stupid boring long version which can cloud peoples' eyes kind. All these high salary cukolds need a serious wake up call."
Victor Seah wrote, "Focus, Ms Fu. People need you to spend quality time in parliament to discuss national policies. Defend your policy well, don't waste time being defensive lah. People will know who are really working for them de. Dun worry."
Chop Lin wrote, "If SL don't apologise, just go with proper protocol and go after her according to the rules of engagement. What's the point of repeating like a broken record asking SL to apologise again and again. Nothing better to do? if SL don't apologise then the world will stop revolving? Parliament cannot move on to other agendas?"
Churong Chua wrote, "PAP are just like salesman. Even if they know their products have faults, they will gladly advertise as faultless and get you to buy. Once problem arise, they will find ways to rebuke the claim.
The government should already have foresight on the various financial burden way beforehand and come up with plans to tackle it but it seems they may just keep mum about it, trying to gain out trust in the various GE and once things have been settled then the ugly truth came out."
Robert Wee wrote, "Let’s be clear : you are entitled to your opinions but you are not entitled to your facts . Desist from forcing a apology or statement withdrawal from Sylvia Lim. You win by the strength and credibility of your arguments and not by getting an apology. Your speech insults the character of the House!"
Norman Chai wrote, "You see the real evil in them. They fear that they will be replace for their greed, you can clearly see who is for the people and who is for themselves now."
Daryl Chan wrote, "Ms Lim soundly defeated and embarrassed Mr Shanmugam the other day. Now still trying to get back at her. Petty! Please, let the matter rest. We, the people, appreciate that Ms Lim had sought to clarify this important matter. That's what MPs are for.
Additionally, Mr Shanmugam (being the Law Minister no less) should not have interrupted when it wasn't his turn.. Glad the Speaker censured him.
MPs are voted in to raise important questions on behalf of the people. It would be very inefficient if every single question posed risks legal action or personal attacks."
Calvin Sim wrote, "When we were young, we were taught to ask if we got questions. Modern days in Singapore, if you got a question regarding what a citizen should know. The result is either you don't get answer or you don't get to wear anything below cause you will be sue till pants drop. Hai, Democracy! Pledge losing its meaning."
Jaslyn Koh wrote, "This is so irritating and frustrating. What is wrong with the question, and is the same that most are asking so does that mean we should all apologise for our doubts and concerns. Does that mean we can never raise a question and must mince every word/phrase and accept all policies as true and only truth. Totally bizarre."