Parliamentary motion on Workers’ Party MPs issue

Motion to call for Workers’ Party MPs to recuse themselves from financial matters

1. Introduction

On 5 November 2019. the Parliament voted in favour for a motion that the Workers’ Party (WP) MPs Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Low Thia Khiang to keep themselves out of all financial matters at the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).

2. The motion

This motion was supported by 52 MPs, all WP MPs voted unanimously against it and two NMPs Anthea Ong and Associate Professor Walter Theseira abstained from voting. NMP Ong cited the Town Council Act, which provides the Minister an alternative to rectify deficiencies. NMP Ong also expressed concerns that, under the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016, a court proceeding only concludes when all “issues relating to assessment of damages and costs of the proceeding” are heard and finally decided (see CNA’s video here). As for Associate Professor Theseira, he expressed concerns about the political nature of the motion.

3. Suang comments in The Straits Times

Commenting on the AHTC case, Suang Wijaya told The Straits Times:

The WP MPs are under no legal obligation to recuse themselves. Recusal is generally justified if someone has a personal interest in a matter, such as when a decision is being made on whether to award a contract to a company and the person happens to be a shareholder of that company.” “

It is premature to comment on potential criminal or further civil liability [of the WP MPs] as court proceedings are ongoing.