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Parliamentary questions: Ex-WP politician appreciates clarification from Speaker

Party's candidate in 2015 polls apologises to MPs filing the questions and clarifies that he is no longer a "politician"

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Singapore — A former Workers’ Party (WP) politician has apologised after being corrected by the Speaker of Parliament regarding questions for the sitting on Monday (Jan 4).

Mr Bernard Chen, the WP candidate in MacPherson SMC in the 2015 General Election, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that, according to the Order Paper for the parliamentary sitting on Jan 4, Aljunied GRC MP Leon Perera had asked a question similar to that of MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling.

He had asked: “Why is it that Ms Tin’s question deserves the right of answer by the Minister and the accompanying media coverage, while Mr Perera’s question is relegated to that of a ‘written question’ (page 18 of the Order Paper, Qns No. 20 of ‘Questions for Written Answer’), which will be nicely tucked away?”

These were the questions:

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Mr Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) when will the livestream of parliamentary proceedings for the public commence; and (b) how will the public be able to access the livestream of parliamentary proceedings.

Ms Tin: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether he can provide an update on the plan for live-streaming of Parliament proceedings and how this can be implemented in a way that mitigates concerns about its potential impact on the quality and tone of debates.

In a prompt reply on his own Facebook page the same day, Mr Tan said that Mr Perera had filed his Parliamentary Question as a written question. He explained that if Mr Perera had filed it as a question for oral answer, it would have been grouped with Ms Tin’s question.

“Given his role as a politician, I thought that the person who posted this would understand this or to have checked how it works before posting. It seems clear what he is trying to insinuate. In any case, hope this helps,” he added.

In subsequent updates to his post, Mr Chen expressed appreciation of the Speaker’s response and clarified that he was no longer a “politician” involved in politics.

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