An appeal against filibustering

Singapore should not go down the slippery slope of filibustering, which is a tactic practised by governments in other countries.

It was reported that the Workers' Party filed an adjournment motion to raise the issue of the reserved presidential election, but it was not selected in a ballot for the coming Parliament sitting (WP's EP motion not picked in ballot again; Sept 27).

An adjournment motion is a crucial speech to draw the attention of the House to a matter of urgent public importance.

To deny the WP's motion on the issue of the elected presidency, which is of public interest, could be seen as filibustering to stop the opposition from speaking.

Surely, the other MPs who had also filed motions for the same sitting can postpone or withdraw their questions.

Filibustering is a terrible practice for a democratic country.

It is common in the West, where MPs block motions simply because they do not agree with them. But it is not democratic in any sense.

This is not a good way to achieve a goal nor an efficient way for political groups to work together.

A filibuster gets us nowhere and slows down the process of democracy.

It is time for a rule that would give the opposition a chance to move a motion without balloting.

Perhaps, Singapore's parliamentary procedures require some form of filibuster reform.

The fact remains that filibustering only feeds the flames of partisanship.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'An appeal against filibustering'. Print Edition | Subscribe