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PSP files motion to discuss parliamentary ethics after Speaker’s unparliamentary remark

SINGAPORE — Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) have filed a motion to be debated in the upcoming parliamentary sitting in August, following a recent controversy surrounding the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin.

The motion reads, “That this House reaffirms its commitment to the need for the Speaker of Parliament to be independent and impartial, and for Parliament to be a fair arena for all.”

This development comes after an incident involving Speaker Tan during the parliamentary sitting on 17 April 2023.

During this sitting, Mr Tan was caught on tape muttering an unparliamentary remark about Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Seng Kang GRC, Associate Professor Jamus Lim.

In a statement released Friday, PSP noted the regrettable incident and expressed that it merited a full parliamentary debate.

The party also acknowledged that Mr Tan has since apologised to Assoc Prof Lim, and the Leader of the Hous, Indranee Rajah, has committed to addressing the issue in the next parliamentary session.

Despite these actions, PSP believes that the matter is significant as it calls into question parliamentary privileges, professional ethics, and the impartiality and independence of the Speaker’s office.

The party shares that its NCMPs will share their views on potential parliamentary reforms during the coming debate, underscoring the need for both the Speaker and the parliamentary procedures to ensure fairness.

The incident sparked debate after a video recording from the parliamentary sitting began circulating on Singapore’s social media.

The video captured someone audibly whispering a derogatory remark following a speech made by Assoc Prof Lim during the Presidential address debate.

Assoc Prof Lim’s speech emphasised the need for an official poverty line in Singapore, criticising the current system as confusing and inefficient.

His proposed reforms included expanding the definition of “basic needs”, establishing a committee to define a comprehensive poverty line, and making improvements to the ComCare system.

The remark was later identified as coming from Speaker Tan, who admitted to inadvertently voicing his private thoughts in a Facebook post and subsequently apologised to Asst Prof Lim for his language.

Assoc Prof Lim has accepted the apology and has been praised by netizens for his graciousness and magnanimity.

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