Fearing prosecution and the legal arsenals of the ruling party, Opposition Workers’ Party NCMP Leon Perera unreservedly apologised for stating the fact that Mediacorp is a propaganda mouthpiece in Parliament yesterday (Jan 8). In his personal statement, WP MP Leon Perera said:
“I would now like to definitively withdraw my earlier statements to the effect that the video had been edited with certain bits removed and that the video had been edited and only corrected after my intervention. However, I did not deliberately misrepresent the facts of that incident to this House. I did not plan to raise this during the supplementary questions. I did so off the cuff and only in response to a request to enumerate any incidence of editing that I knew of. As it turned out, my memory of the incident was inaccurate. I did acknowledge my memory might well be imperfect as I prefaced it with the quote ‘if my memory serves me well’. I stated explicitly, twice on that day, that the incident had been resolved amicably and did not accuse Mediacorp of partisan editing, which makes the matter of when the clip was corrected immaterial. I’d also like to reiterate that the main thrust of my (questions) had been the nature and ownership of parliamentary video footage, which was clarified, and whether and how videos are edited, and why livestreaming of Parliament is not provided. I apologise to the House for any mistaken impression created by my failure of memory. I agree that parliamentary privilege is a privilege that should never be taken lightly. However, I did not deliberately misrepresent facts or deliberately mislead the House for whatever reason.”
The WP MP’s first apology was however insufficient for Minister Grace Fu, who continued to provoke him with further questions.
“Notwithstanding his intention – whether deliberately misleading the House or otherwise – does he agree he has indeed made wrong allegations against Mediacorp?”
WP MP Leon Perera took the humble pie and apolgised for the 2nd time:
“I certainly agree that my recollections were imperfect. It had not been my intention to allege that Mediacorp had undertaken partisan editing of the clip. Having said that I think the statements I made contain inaccuracies and I have withdrawn them and I acknowledge that.”
Still unsatisfied, Minister Grace Fu continued to taunt:
“And would he agree that the allegations which were untrue have indeed misled the House?”
To which Leon Perera apologised for the 3rd time:
“I do agree the statements were inaccurate and therefore misled the House. But it was not my intention to make an allegation against Mediacorp of having done partisan editing to the clip.”
The PAP Minister continued to cast aspersions on the Opposition MP insinuating that the latter have an intent to mislead the Parliament:
“As I said earlier, putting aside intention, the fact is that the member has indeed made untrue allegations…Mr Perera has indeed acknowledge he has made a mistake in recollecting his facts. I will not read too much into his intentions…
In this way we are able to have useful and effective discussions in this House, because we believe what we say here, we have a serious basis for them and we will not make any statements unless we are very scrupulous in the facts backing them. So I hope this serves as a timely reminder for all members of the high standards of integrity and honesty we expect in this House.”
Singapore’s state media is ranked 154th in the world for credibility. Earlier during a Parliamentary debate WP MP Leon Perera recalled that he once complained to Mediacorp a heavily-edited video of Parliamentary debate on the racist Presidential Election. Mediacorp later responded claiming it was a “technical glitch” and re-published the full video after.
The propaganda Ministry, Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat, on the day dismissed the incident as isolated and told the WP MP to have faith in Mediacorp. The Minister also declared that there will be no live video or public access to the video recordings of Parliament.
In an earlier state media report, former PAP NMP Eugene Tan said that if WP MP Leon Perera did not apologise in Parliament, a special Select Committee may be conveyed to jail him.