SINGAPORE: Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin’s use of an expletive to refer to opposition MP Jamus Lim has led some to ask, tongue-in-cheek, whether he should be coached by fellow ruling party MP Sun Xueling who had complained about a resident’s rude email, just last month.
On 3 June, Ms Sun made a resident’s feedback letter public and publicly expressed disapproval of the resident’s tone and language. The resident’s email, which was addressed to Ms Sun and Workers’ Party’s (WP) Jamus Lim, raised concerns about the noise of heavy vehicles on the road near Punggol Way.
The email also touched upon grievances regarding uneven cement floors at the void deck and criticized a road design, using offensive language. The resident was frustrated and warned that the failure to address the issue could result in Ms Sun losing the ward.
Although Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council assured the resident that it would address the issues raised, the resident’s email did not sit well with Ms Sun, a Minister of State. In a Facebook post, she stressed the importance of providing feedback in a civil manner and urged society to refrain from using offensive language to convey their concerns.
Just a month and a half later, Ms Sun’s ruling party colleague has landed in hot water for his use of what he has deemed “unparliamentary language”.
Mr Tan’s vulgar remark was directed towards Assoc Prof Jamus Lim after he delivered a speech on poverty and social reform in Singapore. As the opposition MP returned to his seat, the Speaker of Parliament could be heard muttering “f**king populist” under his breath.
Mr Tan has copped to the vulgar remark, but his apology has failed to stave off a public uproar, renewing concerns about the treatment of opposition MPs and the need for a respectful and inclusive environment in Parliament. The Speaker’s conduct is especially jarring as it is unbefitting of the office he holds and the impartiality and decorum expected of him.
While Singaporeans are largely decrying the Speaker’s conduct, some are drawing parallels between the two cases involving Ms Sun and Mr Tan, highlighting what is perceived to be an inconsistency in the viewpoints of two prominent ruling party politicians.
Netizens are sharing memes, sarcastic comments, and humorous observations juxtaposing the two incidents. Mock concerns were expressed, with suggestions that Ms Sun should offer the Speaker coaching on appropriate language use.