Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

WP's attempts to politicise Committee of Privileges' recommendations 'regrettable': Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin

SINGAPORE — A strong democratic system requires that those who are elected respect the institutions of democracy, especially Parliament, and uphold Singapore's laws, including the laws against perjury and prevarication, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said. He was rejecting a suggestion by Workers' Party (WP) that the recommendations by the Parliament's Committee of Privileges will affect the building of a democratic society.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin at a Committee of Privileges hearing on Dec 10, 2021.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin at a Committee of Privileges hearing on Dec 10, 2021.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.
  • The Workers' Party (WP) suggested that recommendations by Parliament's Committee of Privileges will affect the building of a democratic society
  • Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin rejected the party's suggestion
  • He said that the findings and recommendations by the committee will be debated and decided on their merits "in full public view"
  • Attempts to politicise the matter even before it has been debated are regrettable, he added

SINGAPORE — A strong democratic system requires that those who are elected respect the institutions of democracy, especially Parliament, and uphold Singapore's laws, including the laws against perjury and prevarication, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said. He was rejecting a suggestion by the Workers' Party (WP) that the recommendations by the Parliament's Committee of Privileges will affect the building of a democratic society.

Mr Tan said in a statement on Friday (Feb 11) that the Motion on the Committee of Privileges' findings and recommendations will be debated and decided on their merits "in full public view".

"Attempts to politicise the matter even before it has been debated are regrettable," he said. 

The committee headed by Mr Tan had been looking into the conduct of former WP Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan for lying in Parliament about accompanying a sexual assault victim to a police station.

In its findings released on Thursday, the committee recommended a fine of S$35,000 on Ms Raeesah. 

It also recommended that WP chief Pritam Singh and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap be referred to the Public Prosecutor for further investigation, due to Mr Singh's conduct during the committee's probe into Ms Raeesah’s lie and Mr Faisal's refusal to answer relevant questions.

The Public Prosecutor refers to the Attorney-General, who has the powers to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for any offence.

On Friday, WP said in a statement that the last time criminal charges were brought against an elected opposition MP relating to their political work was in the 1980s. 

The party added that its leaders, Mr Singh, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and Mr Faisal will be expressing their views on the committee's report in Parliament, “which, like the (committee), is dominated by MPs from the ruling People’s Action Party”. 

Mr Tan said that WP's statement suggests that the Committee of Privileges' recommendations are related to the political work of Mr Singh and Mr Faisal as opposition Members of Parliament. 

"It further suggests that this would affect the building of a democratic society."

Mr Tan said that based on evidence presented at the hearings, the committee "was satisfied that Mr Singh had lied under oath... and that he had guided Ms Raeesah Khan to continue with her untruths."

"Mr Faisal had directly and repeatedly refused to answer the (committee's) questions, despite being warned that this might amount to an offence and constitute contempt of Parliament." 

He said that based on these findings, Parliament has the power to proceed to impose sanctions on Mr Singh and Mr Faisal, but rather than doing so, the committee recommended that Parliament consider referring the matter to the Public Prosecutor.

"In that way, the Public Prosecutor will have to consider the matter again; and if charges are brought, Mr Singh and Mr Faisal will have the full opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law," he added.

"This process will give Mr Singh and Mr Faisal the best chance to vindicate themselves, if they are indeed innocent... This is how democracy should work.

"It will be a perversion of democracy, for an MP to lie, on oath, and then say that such lies should not be dealt with, or that he is above the law because of who he is." 

Mr Tan also said that the courts will decide if there are any charges relating to Mr Singh’s and Mr Faisal’s conduct before the committee.

"And regardless of what the Committee of Privileges has found, the courts will have the final say," Mr Tan said.

Related topics

Tan Chuan-Jin Parliament Committee of Privileges Workers' Party WP Raeesah Khan

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.