Leader of the House Grace Fu wants Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera to apologise over his remarks on Mediacorp’s footage of parliamentary proceedings that he made during a recent sitting of Parliament.
In a letter to Perera dated 3 January, Fu said that his “allegations” amounted to a “misrepresentation of facts and if left uncorrected, a misleading of Parliament”.
She therefore called on the NCMP, who is from the Workers’ Party, to withdraw the “false allegations” against the national broadcaster and to apologise to the House for the misrepresentation, during the next sitting of the House on 8 January.
The incident in question
During a parliamentary session on 7 November, Perera had asked Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat which entity owns the copyright to the video recordings of parliamentary proceedings.
During the exchange, the NCMP also asked why a corporate entity like Mediacorp is given “so much power to choose what to put up, when to put it up, when to take it down, how to edit it before presentation”. He added, “I do know from past experience that at times, they are edited and are not archived and made available verbatim.”
As an example, Perera noted that a clip of an exchange during the Presidential Elections Act debate last year was put up with “certain bits removed”.
“I actually communicated with Mediacorp and through the correspondence, they made a rectification and put up a different clip, so that was resolved quite amicably,” Perera said.
However, Chee later pointed out in a Facebook post that Mediacorp had rectified the clip and put the full exchange online on 18 February, two days before Perera emailed the company. “He (Mr Perera) was clearly implying that Mediacorp had edited Parliamentary footages in a partisan manner,” Chee said.
Grace Fu to Leon Perera
Fu, who is also the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, pointed out in her letter to Perera that, thanks to Parliamentary privilege, MPs can speak freely in Parliament. However, they must be “scrupulous with facts” and not make “unfounded allegations”.
She added, “I hope that having had time to reflect on the matter, you will do the right thing and set a correct example for maintaining clean and honest politics in Singapore.”