Parliament Sidelights: Khaw Boon Wan calls Lee Bee Wah his 'favourite MP'

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan could not resist ribbing Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah after being grilled by her in Parliament. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

SINGAPORE - Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) is known for not taking "no" for an answer from civil servants when speaking up for her residents.

So much so that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan could not resist ribbing Ms Lee after being grilled by her in Parliament on Monday (Feb 5), over the removal of an off-peak travel pass for seniors and those with disabilities.

This came just a day after Ms Lee was chided by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean for saying in a Channel NewsAsia interview that her friends had warned her that civil servants will "get back at her" for her criticism of their policies.

On Monday, Ms Lee asked Mr Khaw why the off-peak monthly travel pass had been discontinued without prior notice.

After he had explained that it was scrapped last December as the scheme did not succeed in getting many commuters - only about 200 - to switch to travel in off-peak periods, Ms Lee did not let up.

She argued that there has been much talk about the issue on the ground and asked Mr Khaw if help can be provided for the 200 or so affected commuters.

After saying such schemes, which are funded by taxpayers, have to benefit as many people as possible, Mr Khaw threw the ball back to her court, saying that good local MPs can help those who fall through the cracks.

"Well, my favourite MP has good solutions, you know...I'm quite sure (Ms) Lee Bee Wah will know how to do it."

This is not the first time Mr Khaw has used such a term of endearment for Ms Lee in Parliament.

In the Committee of Supply debate last year, Mr Khaw, mentioning how the upgrade of the signalling system for the North-South Line will be soon completed, said: "(This) will bring a lot of benefits to many residents, including the residents of my favourite MP Ms Lee Bee Wah."

Parliament Sidelights is an occasional blog on what goes on in the House.

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