SINGAPORE — Leader of the House Indranee Rajah has announced her intention to address Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin’s comments, inadvertently made public due to a hot mic, during the next parliamentary session in August.
The announcement follows a circulating video featuring Mr Tan’s remarks at the parliamentary sitting on 17 April 2023.
Ms Indranee, addressing queries from The Straits Times, stated, “As this matter concerns parliamentary conduct, I will address it at the next parliamentary sitting.”
The video that has been the topic of heated discussions throughout the week captured an audible whisper of “fxxking populist,” just as Associate Professor Jamus Lim of the Workers’ Party and Member of Parliament for Seng Kang GRC concluded his speech during the Presidential speech debate.
In his speech, Asst Prof Lim called for a more comprehensive poverty line in Singapore, critiquing the current system for its complexity and inefficiency in identifying and aiding the economically disadvantaged.
He also urged for an expanded understanding of “basic needs,” incorporating smartphones, holidays, and cultural gifts, elements he deemed crucial for societal participation and mental health.
Asst Prof Lim suggested forming a committee comprising civil society, academia, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to better define poverty lines.
He also called for improvements in the ComCare system and proposed enhancements to the Workfare programme to better support parents and young workers.
The contentious remark was heard as Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC from the People’s Action Party, prepared to address the House.
Mr Tan, in a Facebook post on Monday, acknowledged that he was the one who remarked WP MP.
He recognised the remarks as his own and expressed regret for his unparliamentary language.
“These were private thoughts I inadvertently uttered,” Mr Tan clarified.
The Speaker of Parliament also noted that he personally apologised to Minister Lim, who accepted his apology.
Mr Tan served as the Minister for Social and Family Development from 2015 to 2017 before his appointment as the Speaker of the Parliament in 2017.
Asst Jamus Lim acknowledged Mr Tan’s apology in a comment on Mr Tan’s Facebook post, and won praises for his graciousness and magnanimity.
Some commented that Asst Prof Lim had set an inspiring example as a Parliamentarian, and his gesture showed that he had much more emotional intelligence and gentlemanliness than the Speaker.
On the issue of parliamentary conduct, Ms Indranee had repeatedly sought to impose disciplinary actions on the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from the Progressive Singapore Party, Leong Mun Wai.
Recently, Ms Indranee compelled Mr Leong and the PSP to remove a social media post and issue an apology over two posts regarding the debate on the Ridout Rental saga in Parliament last week.