Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin apologised on his Facebook page on Tuesday (11 Jul) for using the “F” word on Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament for Seng Kang GRC, Associate Professor Jamus Lim.
On 17 April, during a Parliamentary debate, Assoc Prof Lim voiced support for President Halimah Yacob’s call to improve Singapore’s social compact. But he also said that Singapore has yet to establish an “official poverty line”, something he found “both puzzling and exasperating”.
Following Assoc Prof Lim’s speech, Mr Tan then called for MP Vikram Nair (PAP-Sembawang) to speak before muttering the words “f**king populist” against Assoc Prof Lim for what he had said in his speech. Mr Tan’s “unparliamentary language” was captured in a video clip.
On his Facebook page, Mr Tan said he did not recall the incident but did listen to the recording on the clip.
“Based on the clip it appears that I had a reaction to a speech made in the chamber,” Mr Tan, People’s Action Party MP for Marine Parade GRC, admitted.
“When I listen to speeches made, like everyone, I do form views on them. What was said were my private thoughts which I had muttered to myself and not to anyone.”
“However I should not have expressed them aloud or in unparliamentary language, and I apologise for that,” he added.
The PAP Central Executive Committee member also noted, “I have also spoken to the Member, A/P Jamus Lim, to make that apology as well; which he has kindly accepted.”
Tan Chuan-Jin thanks pastors
Mr Tan is a staunch Christian and he doesn’t shy away from letting people know about his faith.
In 2021, he even appeared at a Christian conference on Zoom to encourage and thank the church pastors.
At the inaugural Christian Mental Health Conference held online two years ago, the attendees, mainly pastors, ministry leaders and mental health experts, were surprised with a thank you from Mr Tan.
In a pre-recorded video, Mr Tan offered words of encouragement and appreciation to the church leaders.
Mr Tan addressed the pastors, “You are clearly doing God’s work. We all know how important it is, especially in times like these where there’s a lot of strain, a lot of challenges, people are struggling with different difficulties.”
“The listening ear that you provide, the counsel that you provide, the prayers, the empathy, compassion and love that you display makes a great deal of difference and I thank you for that.”
“As we take on all that burden of reaching out to those who need help, the burden increases on yourself, too,” he added.
“So, I just want to encourage everybody: Thank you for the work that you do in the respective areas of work at church, or other spaces in which you serve.”
In this fallen world, criticisms will not go away, he continued. Remembering the purpose of service, and Who we are serving, is helpful in providing sustenance.
“Thank you very much for shepherding your flock, and looking out for our fellow Singaporeans and those who are living here. We are all truly grateful and duly encouraged.”
It’s not known why Mr Tan did not likewise also thank Assoc Prof Lim for looking out for Singaporeans too since he is an MP. Instead Mr Tan chose to use the “F” word on Assoc Prof Lim.