Shanmugam to address Parti Liyani case in Parliament

He will make ministerial statement on case involving former maid acquitted of theft

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said it would be good to "openly set out what happened and deal with the questions" regarding Ms Parti Liyani's case.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said it would be good to "openly set out what happened and deal with the questions" regarding Ms Parti Liyani's case.PHOTOS: GIN TAY, ST FILE

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday that he would make a ministerial statement in Parliament on the case involving former maid Parti Liyani, who was recently acquitted of theft.

It would be good for Parliament to discuss the matter, he told reporters at a Home Team event.

His comments came hours after several MPs, including Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim, said they have filed questions as well as an adjournment motion on the case for Parliament to debate at its next sitting, which is scheduled to take place next month.

The criminal case, in which the family of prominent businessman Liew Mun Leong accused Ms Parti of stealing items worth a total $34,000, has sparked an uproar and raised questions about the justice system's treatment of people who are less well-off.

Mr Liew, 74, has since stepped down as chairman of Changi Airport Group and Surbana Jurong. He also resigned from his positions as senior international business adviser at Singapore investment company Temasek and as a board member of Temasek Foundation.

Yesterday, Mr Shanmugam, replying to reporters' questions at the event held at Tuas View Fire Station, said it will be good to "openly set out what happened and deal with the questions".

Earlier in the day, the WP said in a statement that Ms Lim, an MP for Aljunied GRC, has filed an adjournment motion titled "Justice for all: Enhancing equity in the criminal justice system".

It added that the motion will refer to the deeper issues raised by Ms Parti's case: "The intention is to discuss aspects of the criminal justice system and the challenges faced by persons of less means in navigating it. Specific suggestions to improve the system will be made."

However, there is at least one other adjournment motion on a separate issue, and who will speak at the parliamentary sitting will be determined by ballot.

Ms Denise Phua, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, said yesterday on Facebook that she has filed an adjournment motion to speak on the topic "Towards full participation of persons with disabilities in Singapore society". Such a motion allows an MP to speak for up to 20 minutes on an issue.

MPs who have filed questions on Ms Parti's case include Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) and Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC).


Mr Murali is asking about what happened in the investigation of the case, while Mr Nair wants to know what the Ministry of Law's internal review has found about the handling of the matter by the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Dr Tan said in his Facebook post that he has met Clementi residents "who felt deep disquiet" at what happened in the case, adding that he has asked for statistics on domestic workers accused of theft.

Ms Parti, a 46-year-old Indonesian, was last year sentenced to jail for two years and two months for stealing $34,000 worth of items from Mr Liew's family, for whom she had worked for nine years.

In overturning her conviction, High Court judge Chan Seng Onn, in his 100-page judgment, found the trial judge's conviction of Ms Parti to be "unsafe" for various reasons, including the way the police handled the evidence and the motive behind the allegations made by some members of the Liew family.

Mr Shanmugam said yesterday it was good that both People's Action Party and WP MPs "appear to be very interested" in the case.

Last week, he said the authorities take very seriously Justice Chan's comments and would find out "what happened, why it happened and then deal with it".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2020, with the headline 'Shanmugam to address Parti Liyani case in Parliament'. Subscribe