WP's Faisal Manap says PAP practises 'double standards'

Workers' Party MP Faisal Manap has charged that the People's Action Party practises double standards, saying he had been criticised for raising sensitive issues but when the PAP MPs did so, they were not.

Mr Faisal (Aljunied GRC), however, did not identify the issues that he was referring to.

He made the point on double standards yesterday when giving his view on what constitutes boldness in leadership, which he says is being open to discussing sensitive issues without having contradictory rules on who can speak out.

Speaking on the second day of debate on the President's Address, he said: "We can think back to a debate where I was not allowed to voice out an issue in this Chamber that was deemed to be sensitive...As we all know, the sensitive issue that I raised has also been highlighted by several members from the ruling party but they were not subjected to the same reaction.

"I ask that our leaders do not practise double standards where only members from the ruling party are allowed to voice out sensitive issues while if the same issues are highlighted by non-ruling party members, it is deemed unacceptable and inappropriate."

President Halimah Yacob had, in her speech at the opening of Parliament following a mid-term break, called for bold moves to be made by the fourth-generation of political leaders to take Singapore forward.

Mr Faisal said the 4G leaders need to encourage discussions of sensitive issues in Parliament. "We need to be more open to achieve a democratic society based on justice and equality."

He could not be reached to elaborate but past parliamentary reports show that Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli had chided him for raising divisive issues relating to the Malay/Muslim community. It happened last year when Mr Faisal had called for Muslim nurses and uniformed officers to be allowed to wear the tudung at work.

Mr Masagos, who is the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, had also noted that Mr Faisal had previously raised other sensitive issues, like the need for halal kitchens on navy ships and perceived discrimination against Malays in the armed forces.

Nominated MP Mahdev Mohan later spoke on the need to have diverse views. He said that to make Singapore not just an innovation hub but a home, it should be "a place where different views can be debated and could inform future policy and perhaps in time, shift some OB (out-of-bounds) markers that are unrelated to national security".

Responding to Mr Faisal later in the day, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) recited a poem in Malay which in English says: "You must be brave but you must have substance. To be brave you must follow the context. Do not change just for the sake of change. You must change for the right reasons."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'WP's Faisal Manap says PAP practises 'double standards''. Print Edition | Subscribe