SINGAPORE - Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat has criticised Workers' Party MP Leon Perera for allegedly implying that Mediacorp edits parliamentary footage in a partisan manner - in a resurfacing of an exchange the two had in Parliament earlier this week.
"This was a serious accusation. But it was false, and unfair to MediaCorp, who work very hard to prepare footages after every Parliament sitting," Mr Chee, who is Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, wrote on Thursday (Nov 9) in a Facebook post.
In his post, Mr Chee referenced exchanges in Parliament on Tuesday, when Mr Perera asked about Mediacorp making edits to videos before putting them up online.
Mr Chee replied that the videos were edited only to sort them by speaker, so as to make it convenient for viewers to choose the video they wanted to watch. The videos were not edited to truncate what is said in Parliament, he said.
In his response, Mr Perera, a Non-Constituency MP, then gave an example of a video of the debate in February over changes to the Elected Presidency. Some remarks had been truncated in that video, he noted.
He e-mailed Mediacorp over the matter, and said Mediacorp replied to say the truncations were a result of a technical glitch. Mr Perera said that Mediacorp subsequently re-uploaded the full video.
Mr Chee pressed Mr Perera in Parliament on his recollection of events, noting that, in fact, Mediacorp's reply to him said the truncated video had been replaced with the full video two days before Mr Perera's initial e-mail.
Mr Perera then sai d he did not have the specific dates, and would have to check his e-mail archive to verify them. But he added that he was "quite prepared to accept" Mr Chee's account as correct.
In his Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Chee resurfaced this exchange, and accused Mr Perera of making a false claim in Parliament.
"I had to reiterate the facts and remind him what actually happened, before he grudgingly conceded the point," he said.
He added: "It is surprising that Mr Perera remembered the original 'editing' and that he had asked Mediacorp, but 'forgot' that Mediacorp told him it was an error which had already been rectified.
"It is part of debate to criticise and present different views. But it is unethical and wrong to tell untruths to score political points. This is not what Singaporeans want to see in Parliament."