Former Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang crushed People’s Action Party (PAP) parliamentarian Sun Xueling’s argument during the fake news law debate in Parliament last week, using the very same example she had used in her speech.
Parliament debated the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) over two days last week before passing the bill. The bill, which gives ministers the authority to deem what an online falsehood is, became law even though all nine WP Members of Parliament (MPs) rejected it.
During the parliamentary debate on the bill, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Sun Xueling spoke in Mandarin about the potential that the Government has for abusing the law and asserted that there are checks and balances in place because of Singapore’s citizenry.
In Mandarin, the word “citizenry” is the Chinese word “众”. This Chinese word is made up of three characters, with one character on top and two characters on the bottom.
39-year-old Sun Xueling argued that just like the “众” word, which has three characters, three sections in Singapore provide checks and balances for laws like POFMA. She said that these three sections of oversight are the people, the courts and the Government.
Interestingly, veteran politician Low Thia Khiang crushed Sun’s argument using the very analogy she had used herself. The sharp 62-year-old said:
“…in the case of the “众” word, there’s always someone at the top. The person at the top, the minister, has already made a decision. So for the other two, they’ll just have to sit below (i.e support or follow). And so, yes that’s how things work.”
Sun responded that she meant that the character or person sitting on top is the court but by that time, the damage had already seemed to have been done thanks to Low’s quick wit.
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