In a Facebook post on Wednesday (30 Sept), Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng says he will also speak on issues arising from the high-profile court case involving ex-domestic helper Parti Liyani.
The ruling party politician was responding to calls for him to withdraw an adjournment motion he had filed on protection against secondhand smoke.
Pressure is mounting on the MP to allow Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim to raise the motion she had filed on the Liyani case.
On 14 Sept, Ms Lim filed the Adjournment Motion in Parliament entitled “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System.”
The motion is to “discuss aspects of the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by persons of less means in navigating it”.
Ms Lim, a lawyer, also sought to propose specific suggestions to improve the system, in her motion which was filed ten days after Ms Parti’s acquittal on appeal for theft. The case was brought by her former employer, then-Changi Airport Group Chairman Liew Mun Leong.
On Tuesday evening (29 Sept), however, Ms Lim lost the random ballot deciding on the motions raised in Parliament.
Instead, it was Mr Ng’s motion that was picked. Some people commented that the ballot is a “low tech” draw by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
The results of the ballot sparked backlash against the way parliamentary motions are selected.
Some Singaporeans even asked Mr Ng to withdraw his motion, to give way to the WP chairman.
In response to these calls, Mr Ng took to Facebook to clarify that he will be speaking up on both the secondhand smoke issue and the issues arising from the Parti Liyani case, on top of other matters.
He writes: “It’s my third time having to ballot for an Adjournment Motion. BUT it really is not a case of either or. Either debate the issue of secondhand smoke or the Parti Liyani case. I will speak up on BOTH issues and BOTH important issues will be debated.”
Pointing out that secondhand smoke is not a matter to be taken lightly, Mr Ng says: “Why secondhand smoke? Because it kills. In 2016, 383 people in Singapore died due to secondhand smoke. Everyday an innocent life is lost.”
In the same sitting, which will take place on Monday (5 Oct), Mr Ng will ask Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam whether the Ministry will consider allowing foreign domestic workers and other work permit holders to be accompanied by non-legal personnel in police interviews, similar to the Appropriate Adult Scheme.
His question is relevant to the Parti Liyani case since the Indonesian was interrogated by the police when she was accused of stealing without the presence of a translator.
Mr Ng says: “I feel it will help if we extend this scheme to also cover foreign domestic workers and other work permit holders who may also be fearful and often have a language barrier that makes things worse.”
Revealing that he has filed nine other parliamentary questions and will also speak on the five bills that will be raised in the sitting, the second-term MP said: “Why do I speak up so much? Because these are all important issues that should be debated and I want to help fight for better policies and legislation.
“I will continue to speak up on different issues using different ways. For example, I will be filing a Private Member’s Motion on climate change. Because climate change is an important issue, I have chosen a Private Member’s Motion because there is no balloting for that. Also I will be guaranteed a chance to speak on the issue and for a much longer time as compared to an Adjournment Motion.”
He adds: “Let’s all work together and fight together for better policies and a better Singapore for all.”
[ I will speak on both issues and much more ]It’s my third time having to ballot for an Adjournment Motion. BUT it…