Yesterday (29 Sep), Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin revealed on his Facebook page that Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim will not be speaking on the recent maid case involving Liew Mun Leong at the next sitting in Parliament on 5 Oct.
Liew, who is the former Changi Airport Group chairman, has accused his ex-maid, Parti Liyani, of stealing items worth a total $34,000 from his house. However, Ms Parti was acquitted by High Court judge Justice Chan earlier this month (4 Sep).
The case sparked a public uproar after Justice Chan found Ms Parti’s conviction by the trial judge to be “unsafe” for various reasons. These included the way the police handled the evidence and the motive behind the accusations made by Liew and his family members.
Justice Chan also criticised the 2 Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) involved in the case for using a “sleight-of-hand technique… [that] was particularly prejudicial to the accused”. It led to questions being raised with regard to Singapore’s criminal justice system.
In any case, Mr Tan explained that there were 4 other MPs who have filed an Adjournment Motion for the next sitting together with Ms Lim. As only 1 Adjournment Motion can be filed per sitting, a ballot was taken. PAP MP Louis Ng was chosen to speak.
Mr Tan said, “I had to draw from 5 possible Adjournment Motions for the next sitting in Parliament… When chosen, these will take place at the end of the day with up to 20 minutes allocated to the MP and 10 for the Minister to respond. Those that aren’t chosen can be resubmitted for the next ballot for the next sitting.”
The 5 Adjournment Motions filed are:
- PAP MP Denise Phua – Towards full participation of persons with disabilities in Singapore society
- PAP MP Carrie Tan – Increasing support for the sustenance of livelihoods amongst performing arts workers
- PAP MP Wan Rizal – Eradicating mental health stigmatisation
- PAP MP Louis Ng – Protection against secondhand smoke in our homes
- WP MP Sylvia Lim – Justice for all: Enhancing equity in the criminal justice system
Even though Liew’s maid case was overturned by the High Court early this month (4 Sep), sparking great anger among Singapore populace, the 4 PAP MPs who filed their Adjournment Motion did not think the incident warranted them to file one on the matter.
Instead, MP Denise Phua, who filed hers on 14 Sep, said disability issues are “close” to her heart. MP Carrie Tan filed hers about performing arts workers around 24 Sep. MP Wan Rizal did not say when he filed his but on 16 Sep, he had a Facebook Live session organised by Samaritans of Singapore and Jalan Besar grassroots to talk about mental health issues. So, it’s likely that Wan Rizal filed his after 16 Sep.
As for MP Louis Ng, after he won the ballot to speak on his secondhand smoke issue on 5 Oct, netizens have been bombarding him with questions on why he didn’t want to talk about the maid case instead. Today (30 Sep), he replied on his Facebook page that he will be speaking on both issues “and much more”.
“It really is not a case of either or. Either debate the issue of secondhand smoke or the Parti Liyani case. I will speak up on BOTH issues and BOTH important issues will be debated,” he said.
He said that in the same sitting, he will also ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider allowing foreign domestic workers and other work permit holders to be accompanied by non-legal personnel in police interviews. But of course, asking questions is not exactly the same as filing an Adjournment Motion to speak, where one will have more time to dissect and discuss the topic.
“I will also be speaking up on many other issues (9 other Parliamentary questions) and all the Bills for the sitting,” he added. “Why do I speak up so much? Because these are all important issues that should be debated and I want to help fight for better policies and legislation.”