The People's Action Party (PAP) has "no specific governing rules" on the sending of MP letters to the courts or other agencies or ministries, said PAP Whip Chan Chun Sing. However, its "longstanding internal protocol" states that:
• It is the MP's duty to help his residents whenever possible. This includes cases when residents approach MPs at Meet-the-People Sessions to make representations on their behalf when the resident feels that he is unable to do so himself.
• For policy matters, the MP may write to the relevant ministries or agencies.
• If a resident has run into some problem with the law, the MP will listen carefully and sympathetically to the resident to understand his problem.
• If the resident requests the MP to do so, he will write a letter to present the resident's case . The letter will be based on the resident's assertions, as the MP will usually not be in a position to verify the facts stated by the resident.
• Who the MP's letter is addressed to will depend on what stage the case is at, and the nature of the request.
• The MP may write to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) under these two conditions - if charges have not yet been brought against a person, and if the MP is appealing for the AGC to not pursue charges.
• Where the case is already before the courts, and the appeal concerns a matter that is for the court to decide, such as an appeal for leniency in sentencing, MPs are generally advised to write to the Ministry of Law (MinLaw). MinLaw will then forward the letters to the courts for consideration.
• In urgent cases, such as if the court hearing is in the next few days, MPs may sometimes use their discretion to give letters by hand to residents to be used in court.