Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC, Louis Ng (Ng) has called on the Government to ban residents from smoking near the window and at the balconies of their homes to minimise the effect of secondhand smoke on neighbours. For those unaware, this is the Adjourned Motion that has taken precedence over the one filed by Sylvia Lim (Lim) of the Workers’ Party (WP). Lim had wanted to talk about the Parti Liyani case.
While it has been clarified by Speaker of Parliament, Tan Chuan Jin (Tan) that there were five Adjournment Motions put forward for the October Parliamentary Sitting and that there was only space for one, it is unfortunate that the issue chosen is one that is not only intrusive but not at all urgent.
Without casting aspersions on the balloting process (which has been clarified by Tan to be random), it is disappointing that Ng has taken up such a sought after air time slot in Parliament to talk about something that could really wait till next month. Especially when people are arguably much more interested in updates on the Parti Liyani case which Lim would have raised had she won the ballot.
In taking up this valuable time slot to talk about a seemingly non urgent matter, has Ng completely lost touch with ground sentiment?
While the perils of second hand smoke are not to be underestimated, what Ng is suggesting is tantamount to creating an atmosphere of “Big Brother is Watching” within someone’s own home! How can you tell someone what they can and cannot do within their own personal space? Even his fellow PAP colleague, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Amy Khor seems to apprehensive about Ng’s suggestion. Responding to the proposed ban, she noted that “such legislation could be highly intrusive”.
Looking at what Ng had to say in comparison to the enormity of what Lim would have raised with regards to the initial miscarriage of justice in Parti’s case, it just seems like a complete waste of that time slot. If Ng really cared about the wider issues of Singapore, surely he should have realised that the intrusive law he is proposing is far less important than the number of public issues raised by the Parti Liyani case at this juncture?
It is disappointing that he has not only not pulled out of the Adjournment Motion when he realised what Lim was going to raise but to make matters worse, is actually advocating such an invasive and draconian law!