The Workers’ Party has filed a Full Motion in Parliament to discuss issues arising from the high-profile case involving ex-domestic helper Parti Liyani, who was acquitted on appeal of theft last month in a case brought by her former employer, then-Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong.
The opposition party said on Wednesday (21 Oct) that chairman Sylvia Lim filed the motion while MP He Ting Ru will support it. All MPs from both sides of the aisle will be able to join the debate on the motion in Parliament.
The motion calls on the House to affirm that “fairness, access and independence are cornerstones of Singapore’s justice system.” It also urges the government to “recognize and remedy its shortcomings in order to enhance justice for all, regardless of means or social status, including facilitating a review of the justice system.”
The Workers' Party has filed a Full Motion in Parliament. The motion pertains to the issues raised by the Parti Liyani…
Ms Lim, a lawyer, first indicated an interest to examine the issues arising from the case when she filed an adjournment motion entitled “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System” on Sept 14.
Through the motion, the opposition politician intended to “discuss aspects of the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by persons of less means in navigating it”. She also planned to propose specific suggestions to improve the system.
On Sept 29, however, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin announced that Ms Lim had lost the ballot on the motions raised in the House. A motion filed by People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Louis Ng, calling for protection against secondhand smoke in homes, won the ballot.
The result of the ballot sparked criticism of the way the motions are selected. Mr Tan responded with multiple rebuttals of the criticism. Mr Ng, when urged by the critics to withdraw his motion and give way to Ms Lim, said he would also speak on the Parti Liyani case in Parliament.
On Thursday (Oct 1), Law Minister K Shanmugam announced that a Ministerial Statement he was planning to deliver next week on the court case would be postponed to November since the internal reviews by the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers would take a few more weeks to conclude.
On Friday (Oct 2), the WP said Ms Lim would not seek any further ballot of the adjournment motion since Mr Shanmugam had announced that his Ministerial Statement on the case had been postponed to November.
The party said: “Appreciating the premium on Parliament’s time, WP will coincide its contribution to the debate with the Ministerial Statement as far as practicable. WP Chair MP Sylvia Lim will therefore not seek any further ballot in October of the adjournment motion filed by her.”
Asserting that its aim was “to seek enhancements to a justice system that should work for all”, the party added that the strong public interest in the case bode well for a critical public discussion on how disadvantaged individuals could adequately navigate the criminal justice system.
While the party said that Ms Lim would not apply for further ballot in the month of October — since the Ministerial Statement would only be delivered in November — some took the statement to mean that the WP Chairman had abandoned her motion totally.
Clarifying that this was inaccurate, the opposition party said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 3): “The Workers’ Party notes that some media reports in the last 24 hours may have given the misimpression that WP Chair Sylvia Lim has abandoned re-filing of her Adjournment Motion entitled ‘Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System’. This is not accurate.”
Hinting that Ms Lim may re-file her motion next month, the WP said: “Our earlier statement stated that Ms Lim would not seek to have her adjournment motion re-balloted for October, since the Minister for Law has confirmed that he would make a Ministerial Statement on the Parti Liyani case and answer questions raised by MPs in November.
“The WP stated that it would coincide its contribution to the debate with the Ministerial Statement on the matter, as far as practicable i.e. in November.”
It added: “We are closely monitoring developments and will consider all procedural options for participating in the Parliamentary debate in November.”
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