Indranee Rajah reprimands PSP’s Leong Mun Wai for failing to substantiate allegations against teachers


Leader of the House Indranee Rajah rebuked Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai on Jan 11, 2022, over his claims that some children were subject to vaccination differentiated safe management measures (VDS) in schools by their teachers.

She reminded Mr Leong about the importance of being able to substantiate allegations that are made in the House and that the privilege of speaking in the chamber must be exercised responsibly.

Mr Leong first made the allegations yesterday in Parliament that “some teachers have already practised vaccination differentiated safe management (VDS) measures in schools” despite Education Minister Chan Chun Sing saying that there are no plans to implement VDS measures for children aged 12 and below in schools.

When quizzed by Minister Chan for more information, Mr Leong didn’t substantiate and said that it was feedback from residents via WhatsApp messages.

On Jan 11, 2022, Mr Leong repeated the allegations again and failed to give Minister Chan the relevant info to back up his claims.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin stepped in and asked Mr Leong to clarify his claims and not to make another speech.

Mr Leong ignored and continued with his speech, saying that the claim he raised yesterday was based on a screenshot from a Telegram group called SG Concerned Parents.

Speaker Tan interjected again, saying: “We are asking you to substantiate by giving airtime to substantiate what you said yesterday. So is that going to come out… or are you just going to repeat the screenshot? Do you know the source?”

Mr Leong responded by saying: “There’s no mention of the school on the screenshot, ok? But this is public information on the public domain SG Concerned Parents, a chat group with close to 6,000 members.”

It is an allegation which is cast out there and besmirches teachers as a whole: Indranee Rajah

After the exchange, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah then rose to issue salutary advice to Mr Leong.

“As Leader of the House, I would like to issue some salutary advice to the learned member.

I have in this House before spoken about the importance of being able to substantiate allegations that are made in this House.

And we have seen what happens when members make allegations which cannot be substantiated or are irresponsible.

I wish to remind the member exactly what transpired yesterday. The member stood up and made an allegation that teachers in MOE (Ministry of Education) were practising vaccine-differentiated measures. It is an allegation, which is cast out there and besmirches teachers as a whole.

Minister Chan Chun Sing stood up to ask for details of this allegation. And the reason why you provide details if you are a responsible Member of Parliament, is because when you come to this chamber and you’re given a seat in this chamber, you’re expected to discharge your duties responsibly.

When you make allegations against teachers, and just cast it out there, you must be able to substantiate it

and that is why Minister Chan asked, please provide me with the details of which school and which teacher so that the Ministry of Education can follow up.

What we have seen today is Mr Leong Mun Wai coming here firstly, to grandstand and make broad allegations, or broad speeches, that have no bearing whatsoever on the details that were requested of him.

We have seen that when you, Mr Speaker, requested him to provide those details, he prevaricated and evaded and now finally we discover that the details cannot be forthcoming because he’s referring to a Telegram chat where there are no details at all.

So I just wish to conclude by reminding members, that they are given the privilege of speaking in this chamber, and that privilege must be exercised responsibly and I hope that that is something that the member will bear in mind.”