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Indranee to address Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin’s hot mic incident at next Parliament sitting

This article is more than 12 months old

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah will address Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin’s comment caught on a hot mic at the next sitting of Parliament in August.

“As this matter concerns parliamentary conduct, I will address it at the next parliamentary sitting,” said Ms Indranee in response to questions from The Straits Times.

Her remarks come after a video of Mr Tan started circulating earlier this week. In it, he is heard muttering “****ing populist” on the microphone during the first day of debate on the President’s Address on April 17.

This was after Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim finished a speech of about 20 minutes on doing more to help lower-income groups here.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Tan said in a Facebook post that he had to listen to the recording as he “did not recall the occasion”. He said he had apologised to Associate Professor Lim for using “unparliamentary language”.

“When I listen to speeches made, like everyone, I do form views on them. What was said were my private thoughts which I had muttered to myself and not to anyone,” said Mr Tan.

“However I should not have expressed them aloud or in unparliamentary language, and I apologise for that. I have also spoken to (Prof Lim)... to make that apology as well, which he has kindly accepted.”

Prof Lim commented on Mr Tan’s post, saying the Speaker had called him and that he accepted the apology.

Singapore Management University’s associate professor of law Eugene Tan noted that the matter had aroused “significant public interest”.

Since the video was released, netizens online have raised questions about the Speaker’s conduct and whether he should continue to preside over proceedings.

Ms Indranee’s move to address the matter shows there is “sufficient gravity” to the language that was used by the Speaker, added Prof Tan.

He said: “In my view, he has been sufficiently embarrassed and chastised. He will probably make a statement after Ms Indranee’s comments.”

Prof Tan said he did not expect Ms Indranee’s statement to be a “precursor” to a major censure, such as the Speaker being referred to the Committee of Privileges, for example. The committee looks into alleged breaches of parliamentary privilege or any matter affecting the powers and privileges of Parliament.

“The Speaker’s conduct cannot be condoned, but there are also other significant matters that Parliament needs to give its time to.”

There is a recording of a Parliament sitting in April this year that has been circulating. I had to listen to the...

Posted by Tan Chuan-Jin on Monday, July 10, 2023
SINGAPORE PARLIAMENTtan chuan-jinjamus limIndranee Rajah