Leong Mun Wai Files Complaint Against Murali Pillai For Implying He Had Improper Motives

Leong Mun Wai Files Complaint Against Murali Pillai On 16 Aug

Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai has lodged a formal complaint against Bukit Batok SMC MP Murali Pillai.

This is in response to statements the People’s Action Party (PAP) MP made towards the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) secretary-general in Parliament on 3 Aug.

Mr Leong shared on Wednesday (16 Aug) that he lodged the complaint as Mr Murali had reportedly “imputed improper motives” to him as they were debating the Lease Agreements for Retail Premises Bill.

As such, he decided to file the complaint. Should his claims be proven true, Mr Leong said he also requested that Mr Murali retract his original statement and apologise.

Leong Mun Wai seeks apology from Murali Pillai with formal complaint

On Wednesday (16 Aug), Leong Mun Wai revealed that he had filed a complaint against Murali Pillai, saying the latter had claimed he was advocating for some form of low rent control.

“This statement imputed improper motives to me as he had claimed I was advocating for rent control when I had not made any such statement during the debate,” Mr Leong wrote.

When Mr Leong rose to clarify Mr Murali’s statement, the latter said three times that he did not make such an assertion. However, Mr Leong claimed that Mr Murali “expressly did so earlier” in his statement and refused to retract.

The PSP secretary-general also asserted that Mr Murali’s clarifications during the exchange confused the public.

“[It] created the misleading impression that I was accusing Mr Murali of claiming that I was advocating for rent control when he did not.”

Therefore, the NCMP has sought a ruling from Speaker of Parliament Seah Kian Peng.

“If the Speaker finds that Mr Murali has said words that were at odds with my speech and imputed improper motives to me, I have also requested that Mr Murali make a statement to the House to retract his original statement and apologise for the misleading impression that was created.”

Mr Leong also included his letter to the Speaker, as well as transcripts of the speeches and exchange between him and Mr Murali.

PSP Sec-Gen & PAP MP clashed over Lease Agreements for Retail Premises Bill

During the Parliament sitting on 3 Aug, the two MPs debated the Lease Agreements for Retail Premises Bill. The bill lays the groundwork so that landlords and tenants of retail spaces can have fairer lease negotiations.

In Mr Leong’s speech, he praised the government for passing the bill as it would level the playing field between landlords and tenants of retail premises in Singapore.

However, he also highlighted that the “power balance” has always favoured landlords. As such, Mr Leong thinks there should be more efforts to “reduce rent-seeking in the retail sector in Singapore”.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

Later, Mr Murali referred to Mr Leong’s speech and claimed that the latter was advocating some form of low rent control.

Mr Murali added that he has been in the legal practice long enough to recall the Control of Rent Act.

According to the PAP MP, the act resulted in “dilapidated homes” as landlords did not put “real investment” in their properties.

The government abolished the Control of Rent Act in 2001.

NCMP visibly emotional during exchange, even hitting rostrum with fist

Responding to Mr Murali, Mr Leong sought clarification on whether the former was implying he was recommending some form of rent control.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

“What I said in my speech was that he sought low rents on behalf of SMEs,” said Mr Murali. He added that it “triggered memories” of the defunct act.

The PSP secretary-general attempted to clarify again, saying that Mr Murali had made a “very dangerous inference”.

As the exchange continued, Mr Leong appeared emotional at several points and even hit the rostrum with his fist.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

Putting an end to the exchange, the Speaker stepped in to say that both sides had clarified their positions on the matter. He also highlighted that there is a record of what each of them said.

Mr Leong then asked if Mr Murali could commit to apologising if it showed the former was not asking for low rent control.

To that, Mr Murali responded, saying he would not be making any commitments.

Previously, in a separate incident, Leong asked Leader of the House Indranee Rajah why he did not get a formal apology from Vivian Balakrishnan for a hot mic incident back in 2021.

Leong Mun Wai Asks Why He Didn’t Get Formal Apology From Vivian Balakrishnan For 2021 Hot Mic Incident

In response, Ms Indranee said that Mr Leong should have lodged a formal complaint if he was seeking expecting an apology.

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Featured image adapted from MCI Singapore on YouTube.

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