Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

WP Sylvia Lim's motion to speak on ex-maid Parti Liyani's case not picked for next Parliament sitting

SINGAPORE – Workers’ Party (WP) MP Sylvia Lim will not be speaking on the high-profile case involving former maid Parti Liyani, who was recently acquitted of theft, when Parliament sits next Monday (Oct 5).

Instead, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng will speak on the topic of protection against second-hand cigarette smoke in homes in his adjournment motion.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that Ms Lim and Mr Ng were at Parliament to witness the balloting, which the latter won.

When more than one MP have submitted an adjournment motion, the MP who gets to speak at a sitting is decided by ballot.

Three other MPs had also submitted adjournment motions, which are meant to raise additional matters of public concern and is allotted to one MP for each Parliament sitting.

The trio are Ms Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC), Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC), and Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah (Jalan Besar GRC).

Ms Parti’s criminal case, in which the family of former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong accused her of stealing items worth a total $34,000, sparked an uproar after a High Court judge found, on appeal, her conviction by the trial judge to be “unsafe” for various reasons.

These included the way the police handled the evidence and the motive behind the accusations made by some members of the Liew family.

It led to questions being raised about the criminal justice system’s treatment of people who are less well-off.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers, the police and the Manpower Ministry have said they are looking into the matter to see if, among other things, further action needs to be taken.

The issue, however, looks set to be discussed at next Monday’s sitting, as several MPs have filed parliamentary questions on the case. They include Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) and Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC).

Earlier this month, Home and Law Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam also said he would make a ministerial statement in Parliament on the matter, but did not specify when.

The adjournment motion filed by Ms Lim, an MP for Aljunied GRC, is titled “Justice For All: Enhancing Equity in the Criminal Justice System”.

Its intention is to discuss aspects of the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by persons of less means in navigating it, said a WP statement earlier this month.

An adjournment motion takes place at the end of the sitting, with 20 minutes allocated to the MP and 10 minutes for the minister to respond.

Those that are not chosen can be resubmitted for the next ballot to take place for the next Parliament sitting.

As for Mr Ng’s motion for next Monday’s sitting, he said in a Facebook post on Sept 12 that more people have been affected by second-hand smoke, such as during and after the circuit breaker period earlier this year, and asked for feedback on the issue.

From January 2019 to July 2020, a total of 71 cases concerning second-hand cigarette smoke were registered with the Community Mediation Centre, Mr Shanmugam said in a written parliamentary reply on Sept 4.

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