I asked to speak on day 2 of debate: Sylvia Lim

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim's name had been called several times by the Speaker of Parliament on the first day of the debate, but she was not in the House.
Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim's name had been called several times by the Speaker of Parliament on the first day of the debate, but she was not in the House.PHOTO: GOV.SG/YOUTUBE

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim yesterday took issue with a report in The Straits Times that said she was due to speak during the Budget debate on Tuesday.

Her name had been called several times by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin on the first day of the debate, but she was not in the House.

Yesterday, Ms Lim said she had asked to speak on day two, adding: "I think The Straits Times was not aware of this, but I hope that they will print a correction to correct any misimpression that has been generated by this report."

It turned out that the debate had proceeded more quickly than expected, resulting in her name being called earlier.

Government Whip Chan Chun Sing said he had indeed acceded to her request, as he typically does for all MPs.

He added that he had promised WP chief Low Thia Khiang to go with the opposition chief's preferred sequence, though he could not guarantee a particular time slot as the speed of proceedings depends on the MPs speaking.

On Ms Lim's case, he said: "Parliament moved along faster than expected yesterday. Your name was called, you were not in the chamber, so we moved on."

Reminding all MPs to be around when their names are called, Mr Chan said the list of MPs due to speak is published daily and placed in the MP's room in Parliament.

He added that MPs can inform him early if they are not able to speak at the assigned time.

In response, Ms Lim said she accepted Mr Chan's point and "should have informed him that I would want to speak today as earlier indicated".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'I asked to speak on day 2 of debate: Sylvia Lim'. Print Edition | Subscribe