Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) and Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Leong Mun Wai has been accused of acting in an “unparliamentary” manner.
In a parliamentary debate spanning one hour, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam pointed out that a Facebook post by Mr Leong had misrepresented facts and cast aspersions.
Mr Shanmugam also requested Mr Leong to take down his post, which argued that Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Mrs Lee Suet Fern shouldn’t have been named in a recent Parliamentary response.
On Wednesday (22 Mar), Mr Shanmugam issued a ministerial statement in response to a Facebook post Mr Leong shared on his page on Monday (20 Mar).
That fateful day, Mr Shanmugam responded to Mr Leong’s question on why Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern were named. In his response, the minister noted that the pair had “essentially absconded from Singapore”.
Later that night, Mr Leong penned a Facebook post taking issue with Mr Shanmugam’s explanation that the couple had absconded. He referenced another case involving Keppel Offshore & Marine, in which the parties under investigation remained anonymous.
Mr Leong also urged Mr Shanmugam not to bring up the case involving Parti Liyani — in which an individual was named for providing false evidence — as this would “muddy the waters”.
Pointing out that the Facebook post contained “serious misrepresentation”, Mr Shanmugam accused the PSP member of behaving in a “really unparliamentary” manner.
Mr Shanmugam stated that Mr Leong had the opportunity to ask questions in response to his answer on Monday. However, he failed to do so.
Instead, the NCMP made a Facebook post allegedly containing untruths.
Mr Shanmugam added that the post “cast aspersions” on himself and Senior Minister (SM) Teo Chee Hean, who first revealed that the couple was under investigation.
Instead of keeping mum in Parliament and posting about the matter online, Mr Shanmugam said Mr Leong could have disagreed and debated his points in the House.
Disagree, explain, debate, so that the public can have a better understanding … But don’t be a coward, keep quiet here then go out and say “oh, it’s an attempt to muddy the waters”.
Mr Leong, however, denied making any attempts to cast aspersions.
During the debate, Mr Shanmugam also requested that Mr Leong take down the Facebook post. The minister also urged the NCMP to accept that he had made misrepresentations and apologise.
Mr Leong’s post remains up on Facebook at the time of writing.
Things heated up at several points in the debate.
At one point, Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin interrupted the debate to ask if Mr Leong had withdrawn allegations against six individuals from the Keppel case. This was his response:
If minister didn’t ask me, I suggest you don’t ask me.
Thereafter, Leader of the House Indraenee Rajah quickly rose and reminded members of the chamber to conduct themselves in a parliamentary manner.
She also told Mr Leong about the importance of the tone in which members address one another. Ms Indranee then asked him to be mindful of it.
Mr Leong eventually apologised for his remarks towards the end of the debate.
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Featured image adapted from MCI Singapore on YouTube.
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