The Workers’ Party (WP) chair Sylvia Lim has filed a full motion in Parliament on issues related to former domestic worker Parti Liyani’s case such as accessibility for all under Singapore’s criminal justice system.
WP in a statement on Wednesday (21 October) said that the motion “calls on the government to recognize and remedy its shortcomings in order to enhance justice for all, regardless of means or social status”.
This will include the suggestion to facilitate “a review of the justice system”, the party said.
The motion filed by the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament (MP) is supported by Sengkang GRC MP and fellow WP MP He Ting Ru.
A full motion would allow any and all MPs to join the debate on the motion in Parliament, WP noted.
Previously, Ms Lim decided not to re-file the adjournment motion she filed last month on Ms Parti’s case.
She and her colleagues in Parliament will instead raise the relevant issues after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam delivers his ministerial statement in the House next month.
“Appreciating the premium on Parliament’s time, WP will coincide its contribution to the debate with the Ministerial Statement as far as practicable. WP Chair MP Sylvia Lim will therefore not seek any further ballot in October of the adjournment motion filed by her,” said WP in a statement on 2 October.
“While these internal reviews may go on, there are wider questions about the criminal justice system which the case has highlighted, including the appropriate approaches to take to diagnose and respond to any shortcomings.
“The strong public interest in the case, and in the underlying issue of access to justice for all, bodes well for a critical public discussion on how the poor and disadvantaged can adequately navigate the criminal justice system,” the party added.
The adjournment motion previously filed by Ms Lim, titled “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity in the Criminal Justice System”, intended to discuss aspects of Singapore’s criminal justice system with reference to Ms Parti’s case.
The motion also aimed to examine challenges faced by underprivileged Singaporeans in navigating their way through the criminal justice system, and subsequently putting forth “specific suggestions” to improve the said system.
However, Ms Lim’s bid was not successful as People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Louis Ng’s motion was chosen in a ballot of five adjournment motions.
The Nee Soon GRC MP’s motion pertained to the issue of second-hand smoking in homes.
The three other adjournment motions comprised PAP MP Denise Phua’s motion on working towards the full participation of persons with disabilities in Singapore society, PAP MP Carrie Tan’s motion to increase support for the sustenance of livelihoods amongst performing arts workers, and PAP MP Wan Rizal’s motion on eradicating mental health stigmatisation.
Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin said that he had to draw from five possible adjournment motions for the next sitting as only one adjournment motion can be filed per sitting.
“When chosen, these will take place at the end of the day with up to 20 minutes allocated to the MP and 10 for the Minister to respond. Those that aren’t chosen can be resubmitted for the next ballot for the next sitting,” said Mr Tan in a Facebook post.
Background of Parti Liyani’s case
Ms Parti was convicted in March last year of stealing items belonging to former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family — his son Mr Karl in particular.
Ms Parti’s employment was abruptly terminated on 28 Oct 2016.
Mr Liew had asked Mr Karl to oversee Ms Parti’s termination and repatriation process to Indonesia, as the former was abroad at the time.
Prior to being sent back to her home country, Ms Parti was given only three hours to pack her belongings despite having worked for the family for almost nine years.
Mr Liew subsequently reported the purported theft on 30 October the same year after returning to Singapore.
Less than two months later, Ms Parti was arrested at Changi Airport on 2 December upon her return to Singapore.
Judge Low sentenced Ms Parti to two years and two months of jail after removing items from and reducing value on the allegedly stolen items that Mr Anil had successfully disproved in the State Courts hearing.
The prosecution originally sought a three-year jail sentence.
Justice Chan Seng Onn of the High Court on 4 September this year overturned the conviction and jail sentence passed down by Judge Low to Ms Parti last year in the State Courts, effectively clearing the Indonesian national of all charges made against her.
Justice Chan found that Mr Liew and Mr Karl’s actions demonstrated “improper motives” in terminating Ms Parti’s employment and making the police report against her.
He stressed that the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that there was no improper motive by Mr Liew and Mr Karl in making the police report against Ms Parti “just two days” after she made an express threat to alert the Ministry of Manpower about her illegal deployment to the latter’s residence and office.