In a Facebook post on Friday (2 October), Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai explained that he has “never doubted the integrity of the parliamentary processes and procedures” and has regarded the Parti Liyani case as “more important” because that is the “most pressing” issue recently.
“I have never doubted the integrity of the parliamentary processes and procedures. I only wanted to ensure that enough time was reserved for the Parti Liyani case,” Mr Leong wrote on his post, responding to the recent discussion about the selection of adjournment motions in Parliament.
He also explained that he had hoped the time allotted for the adjournment motion “would be first used for the debate on the Parti Liyani case” given that the Law Minister K Shanmugam has yet to announce the date of delivering his Ministerial Statement.
“I viewed the Parti Liyani case as ‘more important’ only in the sense that it is the most pressing issue, as reflected by the wide coverage of the case in the media in recent weeks,” he noted.
The NCMP went on to emphasise that he has “no intention to judge one social issue as more important than another in substance”, but in fact, he fully supports Louis Ng’s motion on protection against secondhand smoke in homes as well as all other issues raised by the other MPs in their respective motions.
He also urged the people to look forward to what has been “definitively stated” by the Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin that a “full and substantive” debate on the Parti Liyani case will be held in Parliament next week.
Previously, the NCMP has called out the failure of parliamentary procedure in prioritising more important issues on his Facebook page on 30 September.
“The failure of the current parliamentary procedure (standing order) to give priority to the more important issue of the day to be heard and processed is another issue we will follow up in the future,” he remarked.
His remark was made after Mr Tan revealed that People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Louis Ng was selected via a balloting procedure to speak on his motion at the next Parliament sitting.
For those who are unaware, Mr Ng’s motion was selected out of five motions put forth by various MPs including a motion on full participations of persons with disabilities in Singapore society by MP Denise Phua, increasing support for the sustenance of livelihoods amongst performing arts workers by Carrie Tan, eradicating mental health stigmatisation by Wan Rizal and enhancing equity in the criminal justice system by Sylvia Lim.
To this, Mr Leong wrote on his post, titled “Second-hand smoke more important than criminal justice” saying that, “MP Sylvia Lim only stands a 20% chance of being drawn in the ballot process although most Singaporeans would probably prefer the Parti Liyani case to be heard first before Secondhand Smoke or any of the other matters raised by the PAP MPs.”
While responding to the public’s concern about the selection of motion, the Speaker of Parliament noted his surprise at how some people have chosen to “spin a false narrative” about the selection of adjournment motions in Parliament.
“It is disrespectful to the Singaporeans whose lives are impacted by the issues being proposed. Just because a motion is not picked this round does not mean it would not be picked again,” Mr Tan asserted.
He added, “In fact Parliamentary Questions have been filed and Minister K Shanmugam Sc had already stated that the issue would be fully addressed via a Ministerial Statement, which would obviously include a full and substantive debate.”