No Action Will Be Taken Against Leong Mun Wai Over Facebook Post


Advertisements
 

Is there even a need to watch Channel 5 soap operas anymore when our parliamentary debates provide us with all the drama we require to satisfy our inner kaypohs?

In the latest season of the Gov.sg drama Parliament, no action will be taken against Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Leong Mun Wai for his Facebook posts criticising the government for their decision to publicly name Lee Hsein Yang and his wife, Lee Suet Fern as being under police investigation.

This is because he retracted his accusations and apologised to Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin for his snide remarks that would make quips made by high-school mean girls seem feeble.

According to Leader of the House Indranee Rajah on 18 April, “Mr Leong withdrew various statements in his Facebook posts, clarified that he had not intended to cast aspersions on ministers and admitted that he was wrong to make the suggestions in his statement in parliament as he did.”

She concludes that it seems as if no additional measures need to be taken in this matter.

Drama Lore

In case you’re unaware of how this juicy political fracas began, on 20 March, Mr Leong went head to head with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam during a parliamentary debate. 

Mr Shanmugam was responding to supplementary questions from the opposition regarding why the government chose to name and shame Mr and Mrs Lee, who are amidst a police probe after they were accused of providing false information while under oath during judicial proceedings over the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will.

Mr Leong had challenged Mr Shanmugam over this decision, citing a “double standard” in judgement regarding the Keppel Marine & Offshore corruption case where the names of the accused had been kept anonymous. 

In response, Mr Shanmugam compared the government’s recent decision with the Lees to when they had made a similar ruling in 2020 to name Karl Liew while he was under probe over the Parti Liyani case as he had also lied under oath during court proceedings.

Mr Leong contested Mr Shanmugam’s answer and alleged on Facebook that the minister’s reference to the Parti Liyani case was an attempt to “muddy the waters.” 

Criticising Mr Shanmugam and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean’s decision to name the Lees, Mr Leong also stated in his post that “what SM Teo and Minister Shanmugam have done is run the risk of turning Parliament into a platform to colour public opinion on criminal proceedings.” 


Advertisements
 

On 22 March, Mr Shanmugam accused Mr Leong of making “serious misrepresentations” with his Facebook posts and of repeatedly violating parliamentary procedures. He also asked Mr Leong to clarify what “muddying the waters” meant. 

Mr Leong then left viewers fanning themselves from the piping hot tea with his reply: “Speaker, now Minister is testing whether I’m from a lousy school or not.”

Mr Leong made that comment referring to another incident in 2021 where Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had made what he thought were sneaky, private comments questioning Mr Leong’s intelligence. However, the microphone had picked it up for the whole room (and eventually, the Internet) to hear. This is what can only be described as the parliamentary equivalent of a crossover episode.

Back to the present dispute, Mr Tan had asked Mr Leong to clarify statements he had made in his Facebook posts, to which Mr Leong said, “Speaker, if the minister didn’t ask me, I suggest you do not ask.” 

Mr Shanmugam responded with a “wow”, shooketh by Mr Leong’s brazenness. 

You can watch this video for the drama:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Goody Feed (@goody.feed)

Mr Leong apologised after Mr Tan rebuked him and requested that he maintain the debate’s decorum. Mr Leong subsequently edited his Facebook posts to redact the accusations made.

Mr Leong is No Stranger to Inflammatory Posts… and Butting Heads with Mr Tan

At this point, Mr Leong is a seasoned professional at retracting Facebook posts, as well as sparring with Mr Tan.

In March 2022, following a parliamentary debate, Mr Leong made some Facebook posts claiming that Mr Tan had used the excuse of “cut-off time” to prevent Mr Leong from speaking. 


Advertisements
 

Mr Tan clarified that all the members were informed of the guillotine time beforehand, which is the time by which parliamentary debates are required to end.

Despite that, Mr Leong posted a video of the end of the debate on Facebook with the caption: “This Is How The Speaker Prevents A Member From Speaking”.

Deputy Leader of House Zaqy Mohamad said in response that Mr Leong had impugned Mr Tan and urged him to take down the Facebook posts and issue a statement of apology, which Mr Leong did.

Ms Indranee Rajah Reminds the Politicians to Behave

On 18 April, Ms Indranee Rajah, in other words, reminded members to play nice and not to act like toddlers on a playground. 

She emphasised that making wild accusations about each other’s characters will not be tolerated. However, she reassured members that they could still have fun and play rough as long as they followed the rules and didn’t intentionally give each other boo-boos and ouchies.

Mr Tan echoed Ms Indranee’s call for decorum in the chamber, adding that he expects members to continue being civil toward one another. 


Advertisements
 

“I appreciate that individuals are passionate about their causes and their views. But I also hope that members show respect to the chair and importantly to your fellow members, and do not act as if your views are all that matter.”

He also added that they should keep the debate civil and focused so parliamentary debate won’t devolve into bickering straight out of Sparkletots Daycare Centre.

Mr Tan mentioned that many items are on the agenda for the remainder of the 14th parliament, and he expects that the members will engage in lively and vigorous debate.

I don’t know about you, but my microwave popcorn is at the ready in anticipation of the next session, and I’m sure our country’s leaders won’t disappoint.