Noting his surprise at how some people have chosen to “spin a false narrative” about the selection of adjournment motions in Parliament, Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post on 29 September that it is “disrespectful to run-down the issues that others are speaking on”.
He wrote, “It is disrespectful to the Singaporeans whose lives are impacted by the issues being proposed.”
“Just because a motion is not picked this round does not mean it would not be picked again.”
Mr Tan went on to say that just because a motion on the criminal justice system put forth by Worker’s Party (WP) MP Sylvia Lim was not chosen this time around doesn’t meant that it would not be addressed at all.
He explained, “In fact Parliamentary Questions have been filed and Minister K Shanmugam Sc had already stated that the issue would be fully addressed via a Ministerial Statement, which would obviously include a full and substantive debate.”
Urging people to share his post, the Speaker said he hoped that some of these “clamour” is “borne out of passion and ignorance rather than a deliberate effort to misinform.”
These remarks were made in an update to his Facebook post in which he originally touched on the selection from five possible adjournment motions proposed by MPs for the next sitting in Parliament.
Mr Tan’s remarks seem to be in response to the way the matter was reported, which question the merits of the balloting system to decide on motions to be debated when it results in a more pertinent and matter to not be selected over a seemingly less urgent issue.
Explaining that MPs will table issues close to their heart or surface topics that are important and of public interest at every sitting, Mr Tan said in his post that if chosen, these motions will be table at the end of the day with the MP being given up to 20 minutes to speak. Following that, a minister is given 10 minutes to respond.
Mr Tan noted that motions that were not chosen can be resubmitted for the next ballot of the next sitting.
This round, five MPs put forth different motions on a wide range of topics. These include a motion on full participations of persons with disabilities in Singapore society by MP Dennis Phua, increasing support for the sustenance of livelihoods amongst performing arts workers by Carrie Tan, eradicating mental health stigmatisation by Wan Rizal, enhancing equity in the criminal justice system by Sylvia Lim, and protection against secondhand smoke in homes by Louis Ng.
Ultimately, Mr Ng’s motion was selected.
Mr Tan wrote in the post, “Louis and Sylvia were here to witness the rather low tech draw. Louis left Parliament a happy camper.”