When questioned by WP NCMP Leon Perera why is the government not legalising the sales of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit smoking, Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat alleged that the opposition member is corrupted and attempting to influence legislation to make a profit.
Minister Chee Hong Tat refused to answer the question and instead whipped up a smiley and questioned the WP NCMP if his company has any financial gain from tobacco companies:
“During the debate, Mr Perera, in his speech, supported the use of e-cigarettes, which is also what tobacco companies have advocated. I’d like to seek clarification from Mr Perera, that I understand he’s the CEO of Spire Group which is a research and consulting company. I wanted to ask and confirm if the Member has any interest he wishes to declare.”
NCMP Leon Perera declared that he has zero financial interest from tabling the question, but the PAP Minister pressed on:
“I had only asked the Member if he had any interest to declare. Can I also ask Mr Perera if Henkel, a key manufacturer of adhesives for cigarettes, is a client of the Spire group of which Mr Perera is CEO?”
NCMP Leon Perera reiterated the same comment confirming he has no vested interests. However Minister Chee Hong Tat sneakily avoided answering the question on e-cigarettes helping smokers to quit altogether.