Singapore—Members of Parliament are getting called out on social media for using their mobile phones during Parliamentary sessions.
On Tuesday (Feb 4) comments were seen on social media saying that the country’s MPs must have been bored during the previous day’s session, as a number of them were seen using their phones even during proceedings.
Opposition leader Lim Tean, founder of the People’s Voice party, posted the following on his Facebook page.
“We Need Dedicated MPs!
PAP MPs are obviously bored with parliamentary proceedings. They should be replaced at the next GE with Opposition MPs.
It is outrageous that according to Bertha, half of them are on their electronic devices at any one time! And it is shocking that the Speaker is content to allow this to happen!
I don’t see MPs in the British House of Commons or the Australian Parliament being similarly distracted.
Parliament is not a Tea Party! For those who are not interested in the Nation’s business, they should not even have a seat in that Chamber!”
Mr Lim had shared a post by journalist Bertha Henson, who had been present in the previous day’s session. Ms Henson had written that every time she goes to Parliament, it angers her that at any given time, half of the MPs present are fiddling on their devices.
She added that this practice had lessened somewhat when she complained before but it seems that now MPs have returned to “checking emails or looking at FB.”
Netizens seem to be in agreement with Mr Lim that using phones in Parliament signifies a lack of respect. One person Teh Garett commented “They have No respect on (sic) parliament… We know it is just basic respect on any speakers not to use phones when they talk. Even I stopped playing online mahjong on phone during my townhall whenever someone speaks on stage. It is basic courtesy and respect no matter how boring the topic is. These PAP MPs do not have courtesy and respect for the speakers?”
Others were concerned that it might be a bad influence on young people. Heng Pang wrote “When parliamentarians has no disciplines, (sic) how are schools going to tell their students to put their mobile phones away when lessons are going on. These politicians, are they not parents of growing up children? Don’t they teach their children no phones or iPad while having meals?”
Yet another said that it showed a lack of care for their constituents. “With representatives like that in Parliament, just imagine them doing their job for the constituents. Do they really care or just for show,” wrote John Tan.
And yet, the MPs had netizens defending them as well.
Facebook page Shut Down TRS (the Rubbish Sites) responded to the call-out, writing, “MPs, Ministers using electronic devices in Parliament means they aren’t working?
Even WP MPs uses these electronic devices.
They used it to read soft copies of parliament questions, or speeches which are made available to them before the parliament session. They might be even doing research for any on-going debates.
So what the hell is Lim Team and Bertha Hanson complaining about?”
Other people also posted that it’s possible that MPs, who have busy lives, are multitasking during sessions.
Netizen Tony Keng Hong Tan wrote, “I am not siding the ruling Party or even WP MPs. I think we should not ASS-ume things we dont know.. even check on email, follow-up documents… their ear can still heard MP or minister speak. also let (sic) be fair how many of you also do that during meeting you attend? sometime when we talk on others, reflect ownself (sic) first.”
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