Existing parliamentary rules fair to all MPs, and there is no excuse not to be prepared for every sitting

Sorry – no policy alternatives unless we have more money and more time.

That is essentially what is being put forth in NCMP Mr Leong Mun Wai’s adjournment motion. From increasing their allowances to a million-dollar research department to unlimited debate time, these are what the party that prides itself on being the Voice of the People now requires to raise Singaporeans’ concerns and advance policy positions. Gone are PSP’s bold assertion of its better alternatives to the current problems Singapore was facing.

And let’s be categorical about this: existing Parliamentary rules are not skewed in any way against Opposition MPs. That is a definite no. 

Singapore is a place that prides itself on law and order, justice and fairness. And Parliament is one place where these values are adhered to even more strictly, with all MPs bound by the same rules regardless of their Party affiliation. 

So, PAP MPs do not get more time to speak in Parliament. In fact, we would argue that we get a disproportionately lesser time. Neither do they get unfair support (financial or otherwise) than their Opposition counterparts to help them in their research. After all, the work of an MP does not come easy, and working within constraints and limited resources is one of the challenges. 

Preparing for Parliament, how do MPs do it?

PAP MPs are a diverse bunch. Many do not come with a public policy or legal background too. Yet, it has never deterred them from coming to Parliament prepared, asking the right questions or coming up with policy ideas rooted in facts and good sense. 

The reason behind this is not information asymmetry, a picture the Opposition likes to paint. Instead, PAP MPs put in a combination of hard and heart work. 

Rather than outsource their responsibilities, what defines our MPs is their willingness to listen and emphasise, educate themselves and consult subject matter experts when in doubt. To work to the best of their abilities and make sound judgements on what merits a debate rather than speak for the sake of saying something. All these traits embody what we want and why we elect them as our representatives in the first place.

By the end of the adjournment motion, it had become painfully clear that the cries for fairness are not about what is fair (or not). Neither is it about Country or People. Instead, it screams of hubris. Or worse, a cry for help to do the homework before stepping into the chamber.  

Because so far, there is only one thing that strikes us as unfair in Parliament. And that is when information from a Telegram group ends up as an information source in a Parliamentary debate. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, Singaporeans deserve better than that. 

Photo Source: MCI via YouTube