What is Parliament for, if elected MPs cannot ask questions?

I’d just like to say something about this ridiculous position government ministers have taken with regards to queries on issues. Let us start with a quote made in Parliament in 2017 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself:

“If MPs believe something is wrong, it’s MPs’ job to pursue the facts… decide whether something seems to be wrong, and if you think something is wrong, even if you are not fully sure, then come to this House, confront the government, ask for explanations and answers.”

Mr Lee made that statement – encouraging MPs to ask probing questions – in his ministerial statement on the so-called “Oxley Road saga”, rebutting very serious allegations made by his brother and sister.

In January 2020, WP MP Pritam Singh did precisely that – ask probing questions – but he was accused of what could be described as “seditious tendency” (the phrase used in the Sedition Act) by Minister Chee Hong Tat.

Pritam had asked about whether foreigners really were taking jobs away from Singaporeans, and asked the government to provide a breakdown of the data from the different sectors. He stated very clearly in his speech (and on his Facebook page) that the reasons he was asking for this was to dispel such rumours and potential falsehoods with facts – facts which he could only get from the government ministries.

He said: “Separately, this information is necessary because, amongst other reasons, without hard data, there is much less scope for members of the public to rely on education and facts to counter fake news and falsehoods. Falsehoods fester far more when the facts are available but not made public. In post-Pofma Singapore, the political leadership of the day cannot expect to have it both ways.”

And what better way to ask for the facts than in person in Parliament, where the minister is obliged to give an answer to the query. However, instead of doing this, two ministers insinuated that Pritam may have ulterior motives in asking for the data – and this is in spite of the fact that Pritam had explained the reasons for asking for the data.

First, Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing, asked: “We can get you the numbers. But let me say this: What is the point behind the question?” Later, he reiterated: “It’s not the data — it is the point of (Mr Singh’s) question.”

Mr Chan left it at that, leaving the insinuation vague. That was not the end of it, however.

The next day, Mr Chan’s Senior Minister of State for the ministry – Chee Hong Tat – added his 2 cents’ worth, and made the insinuations against Pritam clearer: “Let us not go down the path of other economies which are struggling with the politics of division and envy,” Mr Chee said, and added: “We must firmly reject all attempts to drive a wedge between different groups within our society and stand resolute against efforts to stir fear and hatred for political gain.”

To “stir fear and hatred” is quite a serious charge, and as I said, are similar to words used in the Sedition Act.

So, as Sylvia Lim asked in 2017 in Parliament, when she was attacked in the “trial balloon” episode (she had said the government had put out trial balloons before announcing the hike in the GST): Is there double standards being practised by the government?

That when it comes to the PM and his siblings, MPs are free to ask questions (even the whip was lifted), but when it comes to others, all sorts of insinuations are made against them for doing the same?

It is dangerous – and patently ridiculous – that even elected MPs such as Pritam Singh cannot ask questions in Parliament in matters of public interests without being accused of trying to divide society. It reminds me of times in the last few years where critics and detractors of the govt are accused by government or PAP supporters of being unpatriotic and even being told to leave or get out of Singapore.

Let us not go down this path. It is dangerous.

Now, please read this forum letter below where the writer correctly points out that the govt itself has broken down segments of our society into their ethnic groups for legitimate purposes. Should the government be accused of also dividing our society? If not, then is that not double-standards being applied?

If Singapore goes down this drain of double-standards, we are going down a dangerous path – where some are more privileged than others by design.

Let MPs be free to ask any question about anything in Parliament. Otherwise, what is Parliament for?


Andrew Loh

 

 

 

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26 Responses to “What is Parliament for, if elected MPs cannot ask questions?”

  • Harder Truths:

    In a communist nation only a few people make decisions. The rest follow whatever they are told.

    Parliament is a democratic process that does not have meaning in a nation ruled by despots. It is for show only.

    Plus it can be a place to find out who is against the communist policies and punish them to show others what their fate will be if they also did the same thing.

    For the ballsless $G citizens the process and outcome is irrelevant as they do not care about anything – unless it happens to them.

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  • N.Jungne:

    All under ONE ROOF, you don’t know meh?.

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  • PAP Admin Fakery:

    Was there full embed of foreigners into daily living, as ordinary as ordinary and local born Singapore citizens in SG, after that of so many years as far as PAP warmly welcomed the first mass of 100s of 1000s?

    One, any one of MAJORITY of us can safely SAY THERE IS ZERO.

    So where is this bloody wedge PAP accused Singaporeans of driving when foreigners living their lives in SG seems to be like buttery soft?

    It goes to show PAP lying about their efforts of integration of foreigners when they still tell us not to drive a wedge.

    If foreigners are so deeply and well embedded, why PAP refer to us driving in a wedge.

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  • RDB:

    Then the MPs are made dumbasses by their GaGamenT lor! Any doubts abouts this?

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  • Bapak:

    They want full dictatorship, no one can disagree with the emperor. If we don’t stop them SG will go that direction.

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  • Parliament is for rubber stamp:

    Isn’t this obvious?
    See the whip? All go limp and vote as they are told.

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  • EducatedIdiots:

    One wonders someone like andrew loh who is quite proficient in writing much has enough intelligence to conclude that the HOUSE is foredoomed for destruction. Anyone stepping into the House cannot not be tainted by degeneracy and corruption.

    There is no light nor truth(blocked/concealed) if the truth/light sets you free(especially if it implicates the those in power). If you are free, your rightful inheritance, you shall know the truth and the truth keeps you free.

    Truth is an enemy of those who reign supreme like God, in his House.

    Many like andrew can’t understand that so they keep fighting for someone to get into the foredoomed House, to be the next strongman.

    Despite the many free lessons or encounters with those who reign supreme, democratically elected mind you,he still keep championing democracy like chee sj.

    Not very intelligent is he?(like chee sj)

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  • Good for nothing ministars:

    These 4Gs are turning pariahment into a circus for shows and entertainment by these clowns, not for discussions and debates.

    Preposterous

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  • Gongkias will vote pap again:

    This is exactly why the men in white insist one-party system is best. No one to shoot them questions in parliament and they can turn it into a circus for the clown and his team of yes-men!

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  • Asd:

    What’s wrong… just follow the ass infront and take $.. no good meh ?

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  • PAP 1980's schism ToaHuatChai:

    Freedom of mind is the real freedom.
    A person whose mind is not free though he may not be in chains, is a slave, not a free man.
    One whose mind is not free, though he may not be in prison, is a prisoner and not a free man.
    One whose mind is not free though alive, is no better than dead.
    Freedom of mind is the proof of one’s existence.
    Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar,

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  • ShamYewCum:

    Singkies

    Have you realised that for 53 years Singaporeans in general NEVER Asked the gabramen to prove the figures that announced are true by way of independent audit?

    Does this mean a future rogue gabrament can fool these zonkers?

    If Naji B were in Sg…..

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  • TruBlu:

    Well,parliament can get free aircon to snooze what?
    Can oso enjoy oppo sgs kena *tekan*!
    Shiok mah?

    Then collect money for shaking legs…
    I love parliament…so co$y????

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    the MF bast**d now dead is a master at CONfusing if not CONvincing…Instil FEAR if the CON falls on deaf Ears

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  • opposition dude:

    When it comes to being evasive you can count on PAP to do it extremely well. It’s not the first time they have done it though so don’t be surprised by it. When we were complaining about the sky high defence budget they said we needed to defend ourselves from external threats as if we were already in a hotspot and would be attacked at any time.

    This is PAP for you, usage of fear or other potentially dear issues of race or religion to avoid answering your question. When the same thing is said about them they come out with all sorts of heroic reasons to justify it being so.

    WP, don’t waste your time talking to brainless twits lah. The election is this year and after the votes have been counted we look forward to seeing more opposition in parliament continually asking tough questions.

    Don’t be afraid of being painted as someone who PAP says is divisive or whatever, you have already explained your stance and this isn’t the 1980s as well. We have all got eyes to see and brains to think so we can definitely analyse matters ourselves.

    Unless, of course, it’s the daft 70% we are talking about….

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  • NotMyProblem:

    opposition dude:
    …….

    …….

    WP, don’t waste your time talking to brainless twits lah. The election is this year and after the votes have been counted we look forward to seeing more opposition in parliament continually asking tough questions.

    ….

    When Parliament gets that hot, a lot of PAP’s MPs would resign. Don’t forget PAP’s Ministers and MPs were in for wealth, fame, power and impressive resume nothing about answering questions.

    Not that they don’t want to answer, it is they are unable to!!

    They cannot answer the truth and it is difficult to cook up lies. Lie needs to have continuity, it must be able to cover the previous lie and allow the next lie to connect.

    Truth is so easy, lie is difficult to tell.

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  • REGIME CHANGE is the solution:

    Another compelling reason for REGIME CHANGE.

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  • Rubber Stamp Election:

    But Singaporeans generally NEVER FOUGHT for democracy. Elections was given to them when they were born.

    So I m afraid, they do not know why they need democracy. They need to be told why or else they won’t know. Unable to think freely.

    Mind controlled. Everything they say Boh Bian which means they believe there is No Solution, No Way Out. This means they are not smart and not capable. No wonder unable to compete with foreigners.

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  • Birds Of Same Feather:

    This place is a bourgeoisie dictatorship. Get this right.
    The regime has craftily manipulated both the rule games of two major political denominations to their advantage, to rule and to profit.
    This century is the century of the kleptocats but it’s going to end with the ascension of Trumpism, getting back to the proletariat with populism.

    This fake democracy is there just because this country size is a pisai and we need to leech on western countries to fend against communist China.
    If this place is big enough, we can expect to be worse than CCP.

    If one consider CCP as crass uncouth thugs, then pigs are sophisticated intelligent thugs. The CCP is driving it’s own death by learning the art of evil from the pigs, from greedy kleptocratic tricks, to controlling mass media, to outright lying.

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  • What Is Kleptocracy?:

    According to Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy

    Kleptocracy (from Greek κλέπτης kléptēs, “thief”, κλέπτω kléptō, “I steal”, and -κρατία -kratía from κράτος krátos, “power, rule”) is a government with corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves embezzlement of funds at the expense of the wider population.[Wikipedia]

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  • WakeupSG:

    The erection of POFMA & the rejection of sound query by WP’s PS in Parliament are clear warning signs that this is a consequence of rule by a dominant party to control our lives that make us “like sheep led to be slaughtered” at their disposal!

    Hope that during GE2020 voters will have the 20/20 vision to see clearly the DANGER that lies ahead for SG under one Party dominance!

    VOTE WISELY TO DENY PAP THE TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY!

    HAVE A SUPER GOOD YEAR 2020!

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  • ShameYewCum:

    Parliament is for rubber stamp:
    Isn’t this obvious?
    See the whip? All go limp and vote as they are told.

    How does China parliament compare with sg? Is sg heading towards China model?

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  • Anonymous incognito:

    Once again the trying to update it’ll take 53 man years to give you those figures!

    The opposition both in and out of parliament need to keep asking probing question and slap them if anyone in the govt or party insinuates bad faith

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  • Expect not from pap scumbags:

    Expect nothing from all PAP political scom bastards. So better off to vote them out altogether. Then find out what they r hiding from Singaporeans that they need such a big compliant bureaucracy including the one that citizens has the last hope for justice. Even the AG n his public prosectors r polanpas, a singlish for compliant bureaucrats.

    Many seniors r now waiting up to the high cost of medical care while ministers r lying to their teeth about the benefits they got. GCT destroyed the medical care policy by removing it entirely from Singapore citizenry but retains the first class benefits for themselves pap politcal greedy scumbags bast**d. this is evidenced by the confession of Kwak n the despicable lie the ne pw regime pretentious head claimed thru his Polanpa bureaucrat ignoring the response of his predecessor. He should if his predecessor lied go adter him instead of TR E which published a logical deduction from the $8 minister. On his medical cost on repairing his bad heart! Surely one of them is lying to his teeth, rationally not the naive $8 minister. But the important issue are the over 70 seniors dissatifaction that these pap greedy scum bastards r locking up their cpf n not allowing them to use it to cover the mandatory medical issurance n medical charges when they seek med attention. The argument is that PAP is keeping their money to continually feeding themselves on the Pretext that they have to lock their c.pf
    For their retirement which they c.laim to be ancient since they r over 70. It is clearly that pap is evil n bullshit abt their attitude n concern for the old. Most of them are talking abt humkachan the whole damn cesspool of them.

    Many bystanders agreed that pap r really bast**d talking abt keeping the cpf of these oldies for their retirement when they have long retired. Really god damned shitheads n agreeably humkachan!

    So Singaporeans, lets get rid of them n u may see many professionals willing to serve freely to investigate what have been going on in the dark with the CB helping them. GE is expected in the Year of the Rats, which according to the geomancists, is a year of purging scumbags in human form hiding in the dark delmeaning the divine recognition of a rat in rat form n not be humiliated by hhuman trying to hide like therats. It is their turn to demonlish tese human shits unwilling to be human yet humilating the rat race n soecies!

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  • ZERO TOLERANCE:

    What is Parliament for, you asked?

    I tell WHAT ParLEEment is for…..

    It is for one to practice “tai chi”. Polishing up the technique of Wayang and to finish up with the Art of BUAT BODOH (Act Blur).

    That what ParLEEment is for.

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  • Pioneer:

    The emperor said precisely come to the ParLeemen House to seek the truth. Bu their million$$$ “kar-gia” refused to answer the WP question accordingly, and he has the chick to ask the WP: What is the point behind this question ? How to you compromise these practices ?

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