ST March 10, 2007
Vivian to opposition MPs: Why no queries?
THE opposition came under fire yesterday from the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, on the last day of the Committee of Supply debate on his ministry, lamented that none of the three opposition members in the House had filed questions for him.
Dr Balakrishnan said he had been looking forward to their queries.
Instead, he was grilled by his own party members, who had asked very 'probing questions'.
In response, Non-Constituency MP and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim said: 'I'm just going to repeat what I told the minister in the lift earlier. There are still four more years.'
One may get the impression that three AP MPs are not "doing their job" of keeping the PAP government in check. But the truth is, PAP controlled parliament has implemented the rule that each MPs will only have a total of 20 minutes of time for the whole Supply Committee Debate (debate on each of the ministries). 20 minutes for 10 ministries!
If Vivian wants a better comparison, then please tell us have all the PAP MPs use up their 20 minutes quota? I believe the WP MPs have used up all their total of 40 minutes quota! In every budget debate I know, WP MP has not enough time to cover all topics and ministries basically due to this quota. Thus, the only way is to prioritize their questioning. If PAP sincerely want AP MPs to ask more questions, then please do away with the time quota! Else the only way is to urge Singaporeans to vote in more AP MPs!
Goh Meng Seng