I didn’t make 'lousy school', 'any of those' comments in Parliament: Lawrence Wong

Lawrence Wong addressing a question by a netizen about the
Lawrence Wong addressing a question by a netizen about the "lousy school" comment in Parliament. SCREENSHOT: Lawrence Wong/Facebook Live

SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Wednesday night (22 September) said that he did not make "any of those comments" in response to a question by a netizen about a "lousy school" comment in Parliament.

Wong was responding in his Facebook Live post about securing jobs and livelihoods for Singaporeans.

The netizen Dex Wong asked the minister in the comments section, “Actually I think people are more interested to know whether you were the one who made the "lousy school" comment in Parliament.”

Wong replied, “Thanks for the question. I assure you that I did not make any of those comments.”

Another netizen 树寶 commented, “Thank you Sir for the clarification. People who suspected that you make those comments should apologise to you.”

Wong’s reply comes a week after Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he had apologised to Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai for his "private comments to a colleague" in Parliament.

"I called Mr Leong Mun Wai today to apologise for my private comments to a colleague in Parliament yesterday. I disagree with him on the issue, but I should not have said what I said," wrote Dr Balakrishnan in a Facebook post. Leong accepted his apology.

Dr Balakrishnan's apology came hours after a lengthy debate on the motion tabled by Wong on securing Singaporeans’ jobs and livelihood, and a separate motion by Leong and fellow PSP NCMP Hazel Poa on foreign talent policy.

A portion of the marathon session, streamed live on YouTube, had gone viral due to disparaging comments about an individual's educational background that were made on the sideline and caught on a hot mic.

During the 9:47:56 mark of the stream, a male voice can be heard saying, "He is illiterate." At the 9:49:17 mark, a male voice asks, "How did he get into RI (Raffles Institution)?"

A separate remark about a “lousy school" can also be heard.

Indiscrete remarks, apparently about NCMP Leong Mun Wai, were overheard in Parliament on Tuesday, 14 September 2021. (SCREENGRAB: Ministry of Communications and Information)
Disparaging remarks about an individual were overheard in Parliament on 14 September 2021. (SCREENGRAB: Ministry of Communications and Information) (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Footage from the Parliament livestream shows that the remarks were made around the time when Manpower Minister Tan See Leng sat down after he addressed questions by Leong.

Dr Tan was seen looking in the direction of Dr Balakrishnan, who was sitting next to him. Wong was seated next to Dr Balakrishnan.

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