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Deputy House Leader Zaqy Mohamad tells PSP's Leong Mun Wai to apologise over Facebook posts in contempt of Parliament

SINGAPORE — Deputy Leader of the House Zaqy Mohamad on Tuesday (March 8) called on Mr Leong Mun Wai from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) to take down several Facebook posts that “impugned” Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and the processes of Parliament.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (left), Deputy Leader of the House, said that Mr Leong Mun Wai (right) published Facebook posts, which suggested that Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin could have called on Mr Leong but deliberately did not do so for improper reasons.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (left), Deputy Leader of the House, said that Mr Leong Mun Wai (right) published Facebook posts, which suggested that Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin could have called on Mr Leong but deliberately did not do so for improper reasons.

  • Mr Leong Mun Wai from the Progress Singapore Party suggested on Facebook that he was prevented from raising questions by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin
  • Mr Tan said that this was because of the guillotine time, or cut-off time, for the debate to end
  • Mr Leong's Facebook posts suggested Mr Tan deliberately chose not to call on the opposition member "for improper reasons"
  • Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Deputy Leader of the House, urged Mr Leong to apologise
  • He said Mr Leong's actions were dishonourable and a contempt of Parliament

SINGAPORE — Deputy Leader of the House Zaqy Mohamad on Tuesday (March 8) called on Mr Leong Mun Wai from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) to take down several Facebook posts that “impugned” Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and the processes of Parliament.

Urging Mr Leong to apologise to the House by the end of the day, Mr Zaqy said that the posts by the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) had “misrepresented” how the debate on the spending plans of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had ended on Monday, and were "dishonourable" and amount to a contempt of Parliament.

Mr Leong was not present in Parliament at the time.

The posts include a 30-second video titled “This is how Speaker prevents a member from speaking”, as well as text comments referring to Mr Tan's actions as "completely ridiculous".

Mr Zaqy's statement on Tuesday came after Mr Leong stood up at the end of the debate for the MOM spending plans on Monday to seek clarification from the ministry.

But his request was denied by Mr Tan, because the time to ask questions was up. Shortly following this exchange, Mr Leong wrote on Facebook that "the Speaker didn’t even give me the chance".

The exchange prompted Mr Tan to clarify later in the day that not all MPs will get the chance to ask their clarification questions due to time limits.

That evening, Mr Leong also uploaded the 30-second video onto his Facebook page, which showed the exchange with Mr Tan.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Zaqy sought a ruling from Mr Tan for the basis for proceeding with the conclusion of the debate of MOM's spending plans, despite Mr Leong rising to make further clarifications.

Now, this is dishonourable and a contempt of Parliament, and breaches the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Deputy Leader of the House

Mr Tan again reiterated that it was due to a time limit. The guillotine time, or the cut-off time, for the debate on MOM's budget was set at 12.40pm, Mr Tan said, and MPs were informed of this last Thursday.  

“Mr Leong was not the only MP who could not ask for clarification at the end of MOM’s debate.”

Mr Tan added that he was duty-bound, as the chair of the ongoing debates, to end the debate when the cut-off time for a ministry is reached.

To this, Mr Zaqy said that Mr Leong’s Facebook posts had suggested that Mr Tan could have called on the opposition member but deliberately did not do so for improper reasons.

“Now, this is dishonourable and a contempt of Parliament, and breaches the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act,” he said.

‘APOLOGISE TO THE HOUSE’

As Mr Leong had the “benefit” of both Mr Tan’s remarks on Monday and his ruling on Tuesday, Mr Zaqy said that Mr Leong should “do the proper thing” by first taking down the video he put up and the accompanying caption.

He then urged Mr Leong to take down two Facebook posts he made on Monday about the matter, withdraw his comments, apologise for his actions in Parliament by the end of the sitting, as well as on Facebook.

This includes an acknowledgement that Mr Leong had "impugned the Speaker and the processes of Parliament without any basis", and that if he wanted to ask his questions, he could file a separate question for Parliament.

“Thereafter, Parliament can decide whether and, if so, what further steps may be necessary, depending on how Mr Leong responds to my request,” Mr Zaqy said.

As Mr Leong was not present in House at the time, Mr Zaqy said that the PSP NCMP would be formally notified of these requirements.

A check by TODAY showed that Mr Leong had taken down both the video and his comments from his Facebook page as of 5.20pm. There was, however, no new post that included the apology that Mr Zaqy had requested.

TODAY has reached out to Mr Leong for comment.

Related topics

Leong Mun Wai Tan Chuan-Jin Parliament PSP MOM Budget 2022

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