Parliament: A Tale of Wrong Info and No Info

Photo: CNA

by Augustine Low

From wrong info to no info, it’s a sorry tale of what takes place within the hallowed halls of Singapore’s Parliament.

During the Jan 10 sitting, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan was giving an account to Parliament on how an MRT train ran into a stationary train at Joo Koon Station last November. He said the driver faced a dire situation where he had to switch from automatic mode to manual mode before he could apply the emergency brakes.

Workers’ Party NCMP Dennis Tan asked Khaw to clarify if the train’s emergency brakes could only work on manual mode. Khaw said: “I’m not perfectly sure, but I’ll check.”  He later corrected himself – emergency brakes could indeed be applied even when the trains are in automatic mode.

Khaw surely did not set out to mislead but he was sloppy, giving wrong information on a simple matter of fact. Perhaps it was due to the sleepless nights he’s been having, weighed down by SMRT issues – as he recounted to Parliament recently.

While Khaw’s was a case of wrong info, the Parliament session two days earlier, on Jan 8, was a case of no info. The Workers’ Party had filed a number of questions on the issue of illegal bribes made by Keppel to secure projects in Brazil. In response to two questions, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah simply said: I do not have that information.

The first instance was regarding a question on former Keppel CEO Choo Chiau Beng, who was Singapore’s Ambassador to Brazil from 2004 to 2016. The question: Was he removed from the post because he had knowledge of, or was involved, in the bribery? Indranee said she did not have the info.

She was then asked the name of the Keppel Offshore & Marine subsidiary in Singapore cited by US Department of Justice for paying bribes of US$17 million to an entity in Miami, Florida. Indranee again said she did not have the info.

How inexplicable! This is despite the fact that Parliamentary questions are generally filed in advance so answers could be adequately prepared.

With such goings-on, it’s easy to see why the government has repeatedly turned down requests for Parliamentary proceedings to be telecast or streamed live.

43 COMMENTS

  1. is she covering up something or someone..?? I am surprise someone let her would come to Parliament not having the answers – especially when the questions were provided to her much earlier.

    • Not too long ago, we have one Cabinet Minister telling Pre-U students “what do you think?” As his answer to almost all their questions.

      Nothing new. As DK from SMRT once said, this is a deep seated “company culture” issue.

  2. do not worry the zoological republic citizens can not understand political jargons, just feed them with some peanuts and bananas
    They confirmed vote for the pappists !!!

  3. Clearly, the country going to the DOGS under LHL regime! Highly paid Ministers who only know how to say YES, NO, and I DON’T KNOW! Worst government ever in the history of SG, thanks to the walking dead!

  4. Why no live streaming of Parliament sessions?
    Well , even if WE do allow it , “You the peasant viewers will not grasp it!”
    Period ! Guess that’s what’s in the “elitist’s WE “ minds!!! ; For their discussions are conducted in super smoking vocabulary that peasants can never understand and therefore is a waste of resources to do a live telecast !!!

  5. What a laugh, Transport Minister, what do you mean train driver faced a dire situation when he had to switch from auto to manual to make an emergency brake. If that being the case something is terrible, terrible wrong. How can our world class decision makers gave the green light to purchase a train system that is not equipped with an Emergency Braking system when it operates on Auto mode. Bad decision! And equally bad excuse for that silly train accident. Then later on further probing by the Opposition Member, Khaw “clarified” that indeed emergency works on both manuel as well as auto mode. Khaw a self professed engineer was certainly trying his luck, fooling and making stupid excuses. That’s so much respect he has had for the person asking that serious question in Parliament. And he takes such proceeding so lightly. Was that a joke or was that a lie?

  6. Our Parliament is a joke. Better not to have it at all. Let’s face it Singapore is a one party state, disguised as a parliamentary democracy. Wonder how the Ministers can hold up their heads when meeting ministers from other true democracies?

  7. sure guaranteed that if the opposition say NO INFOMATIONS OR I DON’T KNOW, VERY SURE ALL THE ZOO ANIMALS WILL WILL TAKE TURN TO FIX & CRY PAPa & CRY MAMa ON THE OPPOSITION

  8. 70% should be ashamed of themselves, for all the drama they have cause in singapore for voting blindly…
    Y blame the gov when its the ppl who said yes to them….

  9. if live stream, many cannot go for long coffeebreak and MIA halfway, last term kena caught by NMP Eugene Tan, sibeh malu Halimah must call them back to vote on a bill. And of cos, no wonder NMP Eugene fail to get a second term, while CPF not ur money get

  10. Cover up if no answers why you hold the appointment and keep repeating no answer to the questions riled earlier better sleeping at home or you are instructed The speaker also do no actions???;;

  11. On key policy matters – they behave poorly with no depth except wayang
    On opposition questions – they behave badly with no answers
    It is a total disgrace
    How to air?

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