Singapore parliament speaker ‘accidentally’ utters abusive remarks on the mic in reaction to a parliamentarian speech. Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin admits ‘muttering’ his unparliamentary thoughts out loud but claims it was unintentional and he never wanted them to be heard. The speaker admitted his mistake and apologized to parliamentarian Jamus Lim, which was duly accepted.
The uncertain series of events leaves everyone speechless as the opposition party, People’s Voice (PV) demands an immediate resignation from Tan Chuan-Jin for using abusive remarks against Jamus Lim.
The Event That Led to Tan Chuan-Jin’s Abusive (Unintentional) Remarks
In a Singapore parliament session in April, a member of the Parliament, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, made a thought-provoking speech on creating an official poverty line. Prof. Lim talked about how the poverty line would help the poor and give them equal opportunities in employment, education, and the health sector.
Prof. Lim emphasized that the government supports only those above 65 years old. However, if Singapore must maintain its status as a first-world nation, it should do more to support the poor and empower them to achieve better living standards.
As the parliamentarian completed his speech, the speaker requested Mr. Vikram Nair to the floor. Immediately after inviting the MP, the speaker muttered his remarks, including some abusive words about the recently concluded speech.
Tan Chuan-Jin’s Reaction and Apology
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As a reaction to the recorded event, the speaker stated that he failed to recall the occasion and had to watch the video circulating online to understand the matter.
He mentioned that he formulates his opinions on every speech in the chamber, but they are strictly personal and not meant to be heard out loud. As he ‘unnoticeably’ spoke those words out loud, he admitted to using unparliamentary language, for which he apologized to the concerned MP, which was accepted.
Speaker of Parliament, Roles, and Responsibilities
The speaker of Parliament observes a critical role in maintaining order inside the parliament house. Additionally, the speaker directs the speaker sessions where parliamentarians speak on essential issues of the country.
The speaker must maintain decorum and order inside the house, allowing each parliamentarian to share their views.
More importantly, the speaker’s role is that of an arbiter, and they must remain neutral and impartial regardless of their personal opinions.
Hence, while chairing the sessions, the speaker must uphold the principles of neutrality and fairness by keeping aside their thoughts and opinions. The speaker cannot vote in a debate unless the parliamentarians have a tie.
While speaker Tan Chuan-Jin ran the parliament sessions smoothly, his remarks caught on the mic hint towards a violation of a core responsibility of a parliament speaker.
Is It Acceptable for a Speaker of Parliament to Mutter Vulgarities?
A parliament speaker maintains the decorum of a parliament, so it is utterly unacceptable for them to utter such foul words. It violates the house’s dignity and creates a divide among parliament members, disturbing the environment and productivity of debates.
Understandably, a speaker using abusive remarks and vulgar statements must undergo heavy criticism that could lead to being removed from the position for such careless practice in public.
Is an Apology Sufficient, or Should He Resign?
While the speaker may have apologized for his remarks, it certainly dents the hopes of thousands and millions watching the proceedings.
In the age of social media and the internet, the circulated video can potentially portray a hurtful impression of the Singapore parliament.
Understandably, even if the concerned MP accepts the apology, whether the speaker is charged with any violations remains in play.
While the opposition party demands the removal of the speaker, many believe that the speaker must be sued for his careless act in public.
It’s quite an unusual event as a speaker rarely overlooks such an obvious parliament protocol. And to ensure it doesn’t happen again, the concerned officials must be vigilant and ensure necessary actions.
Let us know what you think about the actions and what the future should look like for Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin as the speaker of the Singapore Parliament.