Singapore — Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim will not be re-filing her adjournment motion to speak in Parliament on issues pertaining to the high-profile court case involving domestic helper Parti Liyani.
In a statement on Friday (Oct 2), the party noted an update the previous day from the Minister for Law “that internal reviews by the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers into the handling of Ms Parti Liyani’s case still require a few more weeks to conclude”.
The party added that it will join the debate after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam delivers a Ministerial Statement on the matter in Parliament.
Ms Lim had filed an adjournment motion, titled Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System, to highlight aspects of the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by people of less means in navigating it.
Ms Lim’s motion was not successful in the ballot and, instead, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng will speak in his adjournment motion on the topic of protection against second-hand cigarette smoke in homes.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Sept 29) that Ms Lim and Mr Ng were at Parliament to witness the balloting, which the latter won.
The adjournment motion, which is meant to raise additional matters of public concern, is allotted to one MP for each Parliament sitting. Five were filed for the October session as follows:
- Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC) – Towards Full Participation Of Persons With Disabilities In Singapore Society.
2. Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) – Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System.
3. Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC) – Increasing Support For The Sustenance Of Livelihoods Amongst Performing Arts Workers.
4. Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah (Jalan Besar GRC) – Eradicating Mental Health Stigmatisation.
5. Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) – Protection Against Secondhand Smoke In Our Homes.
When more than one MP submits an adjournment motion, the MP who gets to speak at a sitting is decided by ballot.
In its statement, the WP wrote: “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.”
It added that there are wider questions about the criminal justice system which the case has highlighted, “including the appropriate approaches to take to diagnose and respond to any shortcomings”.
“The strong public interest in the case, and in the underlying issue of access to justice for all, bodes well for a critical public discussion on how the poor and disadvantaged can adequately navigate the criminal justice system,” the party said.
𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗞𝗘𝗥𝗦' 𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗬The Workers' Party (WP) notes the update on 1 October 2020 from the Minister for Law,…
About the Parti Liyani case
Ms Parti, an Indonesian, was employed by Mr Liew Mun Leong from 2007 till 2016. In addition to working in her employer’s home, she was sent on “multiple occasions” to work in his son’s home and office.
On Oct 28, 2016, the Liew family decided to sack Ms Parti and gave her two hours to pack her items and leave. She allegedly said that she would lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower about being deployed to work in the son’s home and office.
The Liews said they checked Ms Parti’s belongings out of concern that they could contain illegal items and allegedly found items that belonged to them. On Oct 30, the family filed a police report against Ms Parti.
However, the investigating officer allowed the family to use the items allegedly found in Ms Parti’s boxes as long as they did not discard them. The officer said he did not seize the items as he did not wish to “re-victimise” the family.
Ms Parti returned to Singapore on Dec 2, seeking employment, but was arrested at Changi Airport. On Dec 3, the investigating officer went to the Liew residence to take photos of the items — which would only end up in police custody nearly a year-and-a-half later, on April 18, 2018.
Ms Parti was interviewed by the police, with no interpreter present. A Malay officer translated the investigating officer’s questions from English to Bahasa Melayu.
She was charged in August 2017, claimed trial in April 2018 but was convicted on four counts of theft last March and sentenced to two years and two months in jail.
On Sept 4, 2020, the High Court overturned the convictions on appeal and acquitted Ms Parti of all charges. In his ruling, Justice Chan Seng Onn said that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and called the convictions “unsafe” given the presence of an “improper motive”.
Mr Liew has retired from his public service and business roles with Changi Airport Group, Surbana Jurong, Temasek Foundation and Temasek International. /TISG