Although the Non-Constituency MP’s original proposal in 2017 was turned down for the reason of there being “low demand”, Mr Perera argued in a speech on May 5 that giving the public real-time access to parliamentary sessions would grant them a sense of engagement in decisions of the state.
The WP on Saturday (May 16) shared a video clip of Mr Perera’s recent speech.
This time, in line with his support for the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore Amendment Bill, which aims to put in place “continuity arrangements” for Members of Parliament (MPs), Mr Perera argued that such arrangements could be utilised to get a more accurate measure of public demand.
Leon Perera expressed his support for the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill to create a…
The “continuity arrangements” provided by Article 64A of the Amendment Bill would allow “Parliament and its committees to sit, meet and dispatch business with Members of Parliament being present at two or more appointed places and in contemporaneous communication with one another”, if “it is or will be impossible, unsafe or inexpedient for Parliament to sit and meet in one place”.
Mr Perera sought to clarify if video conferencing from home would be allowed, as doing so could be classified under the stipulations of the new Article 64A. “If we adopt parliamentary continuity arrangements in the future, my suggestion is that we could use that as an occasion to experiment with live-streaming all parliamentary proceedings under continuity arrangements to the public to test this hypothesis of how much demand there is.”
Mr Perera said that if continuity arrangements allowing parliamentary proceedings to be held online are approved, “the investment to do that would need to be made”. He then argued: “One can assume that taking the additional step of then making that live stream between the locations available online would be relatively inexpensive.”
Furthermore, Mr Perera highlighted public engagement and its role in democracy. “It would be a good thing for our democracy and our society,” he said. “It would probably increase the public knowledge of parliamentary proceedings, of how debates turn and how issues are discussed and decided based on arguments made. This in turn is likely to increase the public appetite for participating in parliamentary processes by providing feedback to MPs, by participating in public debate on issues that are close to their hearts and so on.” /TISG