On Sept 14, Ms Lim had filed an adjournment motion in Parliament to examine the issues that had arisen after former domestic helper Parti was acquitted on appeal of theft in a case brought by the family of her former employer, Mr Liew Mun Leong.
Through the motion, entitled “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System”, Ms Lim, a lawyer, 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 Tuesday evening (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.”
𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗞𝗘𝗥𝗦' 𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗬𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙒𝙋 𝙖𝙞𝙢𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙚𝙗𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙪𝙚𝙨 𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙞 𝙇𝙞𝙮𝙖𝙣𝙞 𝙘𝙖𝙨𝙚…