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Indranee Rajah rebukes PSP's Leong Mun Wai over claims of students being differentiated based on vaccination status

SINGAPORE — Leader of the House Indranee Rajah on Tuesday (Jan 11) admonished Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai for making unsubstantiated claims about teachers checking students' vaccination status in schools.

Indranee Rajah rebukes PSP's Leong Mun Wai over claims of students being differentiated based on vaccination status
Leader of the House Indranee Rajah (left) and Mr Leong Mun Wai (right), Non-Constituency Member of Parliament.
  • Opposition party member Leong Mun Wai referred to claims that certain schools had been checking vaccination status of students
  • He was asked to provide further details such as the schools involved
  • On Tuesday, Mr Leong failed to to produce this information, drawing a rebuke from Leader of the House Indranee Rajah
  • Ms Indranee reminded MPs that they should exercise their privilege of speaking in Parliament responsibly

SINGAPORE Leader of the House Indranee Rajah on Tuesday (Jan 11) admonished Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai for making unsubstantiated claims about teachers checking students' vaccination status in schools.

On the second day of the first parliamentary sitting of the year, Ms Indranee stressed that Members of Parliament (MPs) need to exercise the privilege of speaking in the House responsibly, after the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member failed to provide evidence for claims that he had raised a day earlier.

The day before, Mr Leong asked Education Minister Chan Chun Sing about feedback he said he had received from residents, "that some teachers have already practised vaccination differentiated safe management measures in schools".

In response, Mr Chan asked Mr Leong for the name of these schools and noted that the authorities had no plans to implement infection controls tied to vaccination status for children aged 12 and below in schools.

Mr Leong said that the feedback from the residents was in WhatsApp messages and that he would need to refer to them before making a clarification.

On Tuesday, Mr Leong said that the complaints he had brought up originated from a Telegram chat group called SG Concerned Parents.

He began by repeating his point that some parents are “still trying to get reassurances” from Mr Chan and the Ministry of Education (MOE) about the matter, but was reminded by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin to immediately clarify the source of the information.

After a terse exchange, Mr Leong admitted that the chat group messages did not name any particular schools.

When you make allegations against teachers and just cast it out there, you must be able to substantiate it.
Leader of the House Indranee Rajah to Mr Leong Mun Wai

At that, Ms Indranee rose and said: "When you make allegations against teachers and just cast it out there, you must be able to substantiate it. And that is why Minister Chan (had) asked, ‘Please provide me with the details of which school and which teacher so that the Ministry of Education can follow up'.”

She described Mr Leong’s explanation on Tuesday as an attempt to “grandstand” or make broad speeches that have no bearing on the details requested by the Education Minister.

“We have seen that when you, Mr Speaker, requested him to provide those details, he prevaricated and evaded. And now finally, we discover that the details cannot be forthcoming, because he is referring to a Telegram chat where there are no details at all.”

Ms Indranee alluded to a recent controversy involving lies told in Parliament by former opposition MP Raeesah Khan.

"I have, in this House before, spoken about the importance of being able to substantiate allegations that are made in this House, and we have seen what happens when members make allegations, which cannot be substantiated or are irresponsible.

“So I just wish to conclude by reminding members that they are given the privilege of speaking in this chamber, and that privilege must be exercised responsibly. And I hope that that is something that the member will bear in mind.”

The opposition member was then asked by Mr Tan if he had taken the point made by Ms Indranee about the need to exercise the privilege to speak in Parliament responsibly.

Mr Tan: "Is the point taken?"

Mr Leong: "(Mr) Speaker, thanks. Can I ask the minister…"

Mr Tan: "I’m asking you, whether that point is taken?"

Mr Leong: "I want to ask one question."

Mr Tan: "I'm asking you whether the point is taken. If you have no response to that, you can sit down. Thank you very much."

Mr Leong: "No, I noted the point but I have my question."

Mr Tan: "No, you have no question. Thank you. We are moving on."

Related topics

Parliament Indranee Rajah Leong Mun Wai Raeesah Khan vaccination MOE schools

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