Sylvia Lim won't re-file adjournment motion on Parti Liyani case

Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim will not seek any further ballot this month for the adjournment motion, her party said on Oct 2, 2020. PHOTO: GOV.SG

Workers' Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim will not re-file her adjournment motion to speak on issues thrown up by the high-profile case involving former maid Parti Liyani.

Instead, the WP said yesterday it will join the debate after Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam delivers a ministerial statement on the matter in Parliament next month.

Ms Lim had earlier filed an adjournment motion, titled Justice For All: Enhancing Equity In The Criminal Justice System, to highlight aspects of the criminal justice system and challenges faced by people of less means in navigating it.

But the Aljunied GRC MP was not successful in a ballot of the five adjournment motions filed ahead of next week's Parliament sitting. Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng, whose motion was picked, will speak on second-hand cigarette smoke in homes next Monday.

The other three MPs - Ms Denise Phua, Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah and Ms Carrie Tan - told The Straits Times they will re-file their adjournment motions for the second day of the sitting.

On Thursday, Mr Shanmugam said reviews by the police and Attorney-General's Chambers into the handling of Ms Parti's case are expected to conclude in two to three weeks' time.

He added that he intends to make a ministerial statement in Parliament next month after the reviews are completed, and will address questions raised.

In its statement yesterday, the WP said: "Appreciating the premium on Parliament's time, WP will coincide its contribution to the debate with the ministerial statement as far as practicable."

Ms Lim will therefore not seek any further ballot this month for the adjournment motion she had filed, it added.

The WP also noted that while internal reviews are ongoing, the case has highlighted wider questions about the criminal justice system, including the appropriate approaches to take to diagnose and respond to any shortcomings.

"The strong public interest in the case, and in the underlying issue of access to justice for all, bodes well for a critical public discussion on how the poor and disadvantaged can adequately navigate the criminal justice system," the party said.

Ms Parti, who worked for the family of former Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong for nine years, was sentenced to jail in March last year after she was found guilty of stealing $34,000 worth of items from the family.

She successfully appealed against her conviction in a three-day hearing that took place between November last year and August this year.

Her acquittal prompted questions about the criminal justice system's treatment of people who are less well-off.

The news of Ms Lim's adjournment motion not getting picked had drawn criticism from some quarters, including Progress Singapore Party's Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai who questioned whether second-hand smoke was deemed "more important" than criminal justice.

This prompted Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin to explain that there are various avenues for MPs to raise issues in Parliament, beyond submitting adjournment motions. These include an option to put forth a substantive motion or file parliamentary questions.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2020, with the headline Sylvia Lim won't re-file adjournment motion on Parti Liyani case. Subscribe