If you’ve been following the WP saga as closely as my grandmother follows her Taiwanese dramas, you’ll know that WP MP and chairman Sylvia Lim had a chance to speak in Parliament two days ago (15 February), where Parliament held a debate and then vote to fine Raeesah Khan and refer both Pritam Singh and Faisal Manap to the Public Prosecutor for further action.
Everything that she said is captured here, but let’s zoom in on one of the points that she specifically talked about: the “strenuous” and questioning sessions that she and her fellow WP MPs were subjected to during the investigation process.
Lim Said the Sessions Were “Bordering on Oppressive”
In her speech in Parliament, Lim claimed that the questioning sessions for Singh and Faisal were nine and six hours long within a single day, and for Singh’s case, the entire process took 12 hours when waiting time was factored in.
Though her own session lasted less than three hours, she brought up how she “waited for two days in a guarded room and was denied the use of any communication devices”.
“When I needed to visit the bathroom, I was accompanied by security. When I requested to use the disabled toilet to have more space, permission was sought,” she added.
She then urged that more be done to “safeguard the dignity of parliamentary hearings”.
“At No Time Was Permission Needed for Witnesses to Use the Toilet”
In response to Lim’s speech, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament clarified that all the witnesses were held in individual rooms so that they could be “physically reached” when they were needed to be for the questioning sessions.
The Clerk’s Office also added that witnesses were discouraged to use communication devices and electronic equipment when investigations and questioning sessions were ongoing due to the possibility of their testimonies being influenced by various outside sources.
Apart from that, the rooms that witnesses were held in included reading materials, meals and drinks for witnesses’ comfort and convenience. An attending Parliament Officer was also present in every room to answer to anything that the witnesses asked for.
“At no time was permission needed for witnesses to use the toilet and they could make their own way there whenever they wanted,” the Clerk’s Office added.
In Lim’s case, they explained that after she had asked for a handicapped toilet to have more space and privacy, the Parliament officer directed her there and notified a supervisor that they were not in the room.
This was so that they would know where she was, especially if the COP had asked for her to attend a questioning session while she was still in the restroom.
Basically like how your teacher should know where you are if you’re not in class lah, so they don’t have to panic and wonder where you’ve disappeared to when you’re just in the toilet relieving a stomachache.
Saying that it was “unfortunate that Ms Lim had misunderstood the officer’s routine status update”, the Clerk’s Office also brought up how she had not submitted any feedback or comments to the Clerk’s Office directly but instead brought the matter up in Parliament.
The Clerk’s Office also assured the public that any opinions or responses made to the Clerk’s Office would have been looked into and dealt with promptly.
“Nevertheless, we welcome this opportunity to affirm that all protocols are carried out to balance witnesses’ well-being with the due process,” the Clerk’s Office concluded.
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Featured Image: YouTube (CNA)
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