Singapore—After the news that the motion of MP Sylvia Lim, the Workers’ Party chair, to speak on enhancing equity in the criminal justice system was not selected for the next Parliament sitting this month, NCMP Leong Mun Wai wrote the failure of the parliamentary procedure to prioritize to “the more important issue of the day” is another matter that the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will follow up in the future.
Mr Leong, the party’s assistant secretary-general, took to Facebook on Sept 30 after Ms Lim’s motion concerning the high-profile case of the Indonesian domestic helper whose conviction for theft was overturned last month. A parliamentary motion regarding this issue was not chosen in a random ballot last Tuesday (Sept 29).
In a post entitled, “𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝–𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐦𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞,” he wrote that MP Louis Ng’s (PAP-Nee Soon GRC) motion to speak on “Protection Against Secondhand Smoke in our Homes” would be taken up in Parliament instead of Ms Lim’s motion, “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity in the Criminal Justice System” after the balloting procedure provided under the Standing Order of Parliament.
Three other MPs from the ruling People’s Action Party had raised separate issues. Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC), Dr Wan Rizal (Jalan Besar GRC) and (Denise Phua of Jalan Besar GRC) which in effect gave Ms Lim’s motion only a 20 per cent chance of being heard, he pointed out.
Mr Leong wrote, “most Singaporeans would probably prefer the Parti Liyani case to be heard first before Secondhand Smoke or any of the other matters raised by the PAP MPs.”
He added that the issue of more important matters not being given priority in parliament is something PSP will address later on, writing, “The failure of the current parliamentary procedure (standing order) to give priority to the more important issue of the day to be heard and processed is another issue we will follow up in the future.”
𝐒𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝-𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐦𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞Following the balloting procedure provided under the Standing…
The PSP assistant secretary-general also listed the parliamentary questions the party raised concerning Ms Liyani’s case that PSP hopes will be fully addressed by the Minister of Law and Home Affairs.
These include whether or not a committee of inquiry will be appointed by the Minister composed of individuals “not affiliated to the Government to conduct a public inquiry into the Singapore Police Force’s and Attorney-General ‘s Chambers’ conduct with regards to the investigation and prosecution of Parti Liyani.”
PSP is also asking
a. whether an expedited trial process can be created for economically vulnerable foreign accused persons.
b. whether the honorarium for volunteer lawyers under the CLAS scheme can be increased to signify their contributions.
c. whether an Office of Public Defender can be created to provide legal assistance to accused persons in Singapore like the Public Defender Service in the United Kingdom
d. whether there are any steps being taken to strengthen the interpreter service in the Singapore Police Force in the light of findings in the Parti Liyani case.
The NCMP emphasised that Ms Liyani’s case is “one of national importance,” therefore an Independent Committee of Inquiry must be convened for an independent investigation and so that remedial measures may be recommended.
“This is the only way to regain public confidence and trust in our criminal justice system,” he wrote.
Read also: Louis Ng set to continue battle against effects of secondhand smoking in homes