Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng has taken to Facebook to explain the rationale behind his proposed adjournment motion on secondhand smoke, which was selected in a random ballot on Sep. 29
This was after the result of the ballot, and the fact that the motion proposed by Workers' Party's Sylvia Lim on the high-profile Parti Liyani case was not selected, led to some netizens claiming the selection process was biased towards the ruling People's Action Party.
Netizens also dismissed Ng's motion, saying that Lim's proposed topic was of greater importance during this current period.
Ng had proposed a motion titled "Protection against secondhand smoke in our homes", while Lim's was titled "Justice for all: Enhancing equity in the criminal justice system".
"Disrespectful to run-down issues others are speaking on"
The minor outcry surrounding the selection results has led to Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-jin — the person who drew the ballot — to dismiss netizens' claims as a "false narrative".
Tan added that it was "disrespectful to run-down issues others are speaking on".
"Just because a motion is not picked this round does not mean it would not be picked again. But more critically, how on earth is this the be all and end all? For example, not picking the motion on the criminal justice system does not mean that it would not be addressed at all."
Non-constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai from the Progress Singapore Party also stepped into the fray, stating that "the failure of the current parliamentary procedure (standing order) to give priority to the the more important issue of the day to be heard and processed is another issue we will follow up in the future".
Will speak up on both issues
On Sep. 30, Ng added his voice to the mix.
In a Facebook post, he explained that "everyday an innocent life is lost" due to secondhand smoke.
Ng added that he will continue to speak up in Parliament on a myriad of issues, and said that speaking up on one issue did not mean he would not do so for another, such as the Parti Liyani case.
"It really is not a case of either or. Either debate the issue of secondhand smoke or the Parti Liyani case. I will speak up on BOTH issues and BOTH important issues will be debated."
He stated that he intended to speak up for domestic workers during the same sitting as well, and would raise the question on whether foreign domestic workers and other Work Permit holders could be accompanied by non-legal personnel during police interviews.
This is because in such cases, the worker in question could feel nervous or fearful, or require help from a translator.
Ng shared that he would be asking nine other Parliamentary question during the sitting on Oct. 5 and 6, the topics of which range from flexible work arrangements, euthanasia on healthy pets, extra childcare leave for parents with differently abled children, to the illegal wildlife trade.
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Top photo from Tan Chuan-jin / FB and CNA / YouTube