Defending his denial of Opposition MP Sylvia Lim’s constitution question over the miscount of the first elected president, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin said that Singaporeans do not understand the meaning of ballot:
“Clearly from the things that were being exchanged online, people didn’t quite understand what it meant when you say you have a ballot.”
According to newly-demoted Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin, the ruling party dictatorship has been “quite fair” in Parliament. In his interview with state media Straits Times today (Oct 15), Speaker Tan Chuan Jin claimed that the fairness draws from the number of questions raised by the Opposition:
“Although the WP has nine seats – six elected MPs and three Non-Constituency MPs – in the 100-member House, its MPs have filed about one-third of the oral parliamentary questions. The process has been quite fair.”
Speaker Tan Chuan Jin also shot down criticisms of the ruling party engaging in dirty politics to ban questions concerning the rigged Presidential election. The former Minister who took a 50% pay cut (now paid at S$550,000 a year) said Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim was eventually allocated 20 minutes to field her question on her third try. Tan Chuan Jin said the process is “fair” because of balloting, but did not opine whether certain questions should take priority over others.
Earlier this year, the ruling party dictatorship wrongly listed Wee Kim Wee as the first elected President. The miscount triggered the new reserved election law written by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Opposition MP Sylvia Lim raised a motion to correct the mistake on her first bid on Sep 11 – just before the reserved election was held – but PAP MP Murali’s trivial question over community sentencing shot her question down. In her second attempt on Oct 2, Speaker Tan Chuan Jin allowed another trivial question – preserving green space and heritage in Jalan Kayu – fielded by PAP Intan to deny the important Constitution-related question.
In her third attempt on Oct 3, Sylvia Lim finally had 20 minutes to point out the miscount but she was denied further questions by Speaker Tan Chuan Jin. Tan Chuan Jin slammed his critics sarcastically saying Singaporeans do not understand the meaning of ballot.
In his state media interview, Tan Chuan Jin also refused to acknowledge his demotion nor did he see his new appointment as a promotion. The propaganda papers called the Speaker “boyish” in the article and claimed that he is only less popular to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Law Minister K Shanmugam – based off Facebook likes on their personal page.