Singapore

Halimah: Parliament has 'checks and balances'

Speaker of Parliament says lifting of whip for Oxley Road issue signals robust debate

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob called on all MPs to examine issues surrounding the Oxley Road dispute thoroughly, saying a robust parliamentary debate today is necessary to put to rest allegations of misuse of power.

Speaking yesterday, ahead of what is arguably the most closely watched debate in recent years, she said: "I do hope that we will have a very robust debate... and that we will have some finality on the issues that have been raised because I think that is in the interest of the country."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make a ministerial statement to respond to allegations of abuse of power made by his siblings Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling in a feud over the fate of their late father's Oxley Road house.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is also slated to speak.

PM Lee said last week that he asked for the whip to be lifted for People's Action Party MPs.

Madam Halimah said this was a strong signal for all MPs to "robustly question PM and the Cabinet on issues they are very concerned about, that they are not clear about, so that we will have a very meaningful debate".

But Mr Lee Hsien Yang has said the issue would not get a full and transparent airing as PAP MPs often toed the party line even with the whip lifted.

Asked to comment, Madam Halimah said Parliament is not made up of the PM alone and has checks and balances.

Elected and Nominated MPs filed questions on the issue, and PAP MPs have "not been shy to criticise the Government".

oxley roadHalimah YacobSINGAPORE PARLIAMENT