Tan Chuan-Jin: ‘We have 103 Members so it would not be prudent for everyone to decide to do as they wish’ 

Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin reminded Members of Parliament that due to time constraints, not everyone who requests to speak during the Budget debates will be given the opportunity to do so. 

Shortly before Parliament took a break at 4:10 pm on Monday (Mar 7), Mr Tan said that he would take an opportune moment to refresh MPs on how the process of the Committee of Supply (COS) debate works.

He referred to an incident during the course of the debate when Progress Singapore Party Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai had asked for a point of order, as he still had questions to ask.

The Speaker answered him by saying that the time was up and that the debate was moving on.

Mr Tan also referred to a Facebook post from Mr Leong, wherein he had said that he had a number of clarifications to make, but had not been given the chance.

The Speaker then explained that different MPs from the various parties are given a chance to speak, but not everyone gets to do so due to time limits.

In a Facebook post late Monday night, Mr Tan wrote that “keeping a close eye on the time is especially germane” during Budget debates,” and that “we strictly follow the Standing Orders that determine the time allocation for all speeches and clarifications.”

He explained that Guillotine—or cutoff—times are strictly followed, adding that all MPs are informed about this schedule for cutoff.

“We have 103 Members so it would not be prudent for everyone to decide to do as they wish, speak when they deem fit etc. I am thankful that most Members understand and have been working harmoniously within this space,” he added.

As an example, he said that during the portion of the debate concerning the Ministry of Manpower, he had called on “about 5 PAP MPs, 4 WP MPs and one NMP to surface their clarifications.”

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But he had also turned down “4 PAP, 1 WP, 1 NCMP and 1 NMP” when the session for discussing MOM had ended.

However, “they can raise their questions as PQs (Parliament Questions) subsequently if they so wish,” he added.

The Speaker posted a video of the reminder he made to MPs on Monday afternoon about the rules and processes in Parliament and wrote that he hoped this video helps people understand better. He added, “do share with others! We will continue to put out pieces like these to help you navigate and understand how Parliament of Singapore works!” /TISG

Tan Chuan-Jin posts Rules For Conduct after telling PSP NCMP Leong Mun Wai to sit down in Parliament on Jan 11

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