Indranee Rajah calls on PSP to apologise for Facebook post on Ridout Road debates

She alleges that the post gives a false impression of what had happened during the Singapore Parliament session

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah (left) and Progress Singapore Party secretary-general Leong Mun Wai.
Leader of the House Indranee Rajah (left) and Progress Singapore Party secretary-general Leong Mun Wai. (SCREENGRAB: YouTube channel)

UPDATE: The Progress Singapore Party has taken down the Facebook post containing the video on Thursday evening. and has apologised for the video and the post.

SINGAPORE — Leader of the House Indranee Rajah took the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and its secretary-general Leong Mun Wai to task during Parliament on Wednesday (5 July), for a Facebook post which allegedly misrepresented an exchange between Leong and Deputy Speaker Christopher de Souza during the Ridout Road debate on Monday.

The post on PSP's Facebook page - which was put up at about 11.20pm on Tuesday - was captioned, "In what some online commenters are calling another 'sia suay' moment. The PSP's Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa Koon Koon are here to do whatever it takes to ensure that the voice of the people is heard."

Sia suay is Hokkien for "embarrassing or disgraceful".

It also included a video of Leong - a non-constituency Member of Parliament - engaged in an exchange with De Souza, with superimposed text.

According to Indranee, the PSP Facebook post gave a false impression of what occurred in Parliament, making it seem as if the issues on the Ridout Road properties could not be properly discussed. The post had seemingly given the impression that De Souza did not allow a debate despite a plea by Leong.

De Souza clarified during Wednesday's Parliament session that he had in fact called on Leong five times during the Ridout Road debate, and the NCMP was allowed to asked more than 10 questions on Monday.

Indranee, who is the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said such misrepresentation constitutes a breach of parliamentary privileges and immunities as well as contempt of Parliament. She also pointed out that this was not Leong's first time breaching parliamentary rules.

Leong Mun Wai: 'sia suay' term refers to me, not Parliament

In response, Leong explained that the term "sia suay" referred to what some online commentators had said about him in the past, and does not refer to the Parliament or the Deputy Speaker.

He added that, while the Ridout Road ministerial statement and debate lasted six hours, he had felt that not all the questions were asked nor did the replies clarify all the facts. The was why he "got a little excited" during the session and said he needed more time.

"I don't think I have conducted myself disrespectfully at all. Now, I hear from you about some of the interpretation that you have explained. I will request that you allow me to take this back and let us deliberate inside our party, and then we come out with a formal response," he said.

Indranee said she accepted that Leong was not disrespectful in Parliament and the phrase "sia suay" was meant to refer to him.

Nonetheless, she said it would still be appropriate for the video to be taken down and the PSP to apologise. She asked Leong to let Parliament know of his party's position by Thursday's session, and Leong agreed.

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