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Seah Kian Peng denies Murali Pillai made improper motives against Leong Mun Wai

Speaker of Parliament, Seah Kian Peng, dismissed a complaint by PSP’s Leong Mun Wai against Murali Pillai. Mr Leong’s grievance arose from a debate where Mr Murali suggested Mr Leong had proposed “some form of low rent control” during a parliamentary debate on 3 August.

The ruling provides a window into Seah’s perspective on impartiality as Parliament’s Speaker.



SINGAPORE: The new Speaker of Parliament, Seah Kian Peng, has clearly shown his brand of independence and fairness with his decision and response to the complaint by Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Leong Mun Wai against People’s Action Party MP Murali Pillai on Monday (18 Sep).

Mr Leong’s complaint stemmed from a debate over Murali’s assertion during the Lease Agreements for Retail Premises Bill debate on 3 August.

Mr Murali claimed that Mr Leong had proposed “some form of low rent control” in his speech. The Bill, which was later passed, aims to facilitate fairer lease negotiations between landlords and tenants of retail premises.

After Mr Leong sought clarification from Mr Murali, the latter denied making such an accusation. Instead, he clarified that Mr Leong had “sought low rents on behalf of SMEs.”

After this discussion, Mr Leong filed a formal complaint with the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Seah Kian Peng, on 16 August.

In a Facebook post, Mr Leong referred to Hansard, the official verbatim report of the Parliament proceedings, regarding the debate that took place on 3 August 2023.

He wrote, “This statement imputed improper motives to me as he claimed I was advocating for rent control when I had not made such a statement during the debate.”

In his post, Mr Leong noted that Mr Murali contradicted his earlier statement three times and refused to retract it. He added that this exchange misled the public, giving the impression that false accusations were being made.

The NCMP requested a ruling from the Speaker on the matter, which is alleged to be in contravention of section 50(6) of the Standing Order of the Singapore Parliament.

Should Mr Murali be found to have uttered the words in question, and if these words were inconsistent with his speech and implied improper motives, Mr Leong would request that Mr Murali make a statement to the house to retract the statement and apologize for the misleading impression created by both the statement and the subsequent clarifications.

In his ruling today at the start of the parliament sitting, referencing the Standing Order, Mr Seah stated that Mr Murali implied no improper motives in his speech on 3 August and closed the matter.

What’s telling is that Mr Seah declined to respond to Mr Leong’s follow-up question about whether he agreed that no statement about introducing rent control was made.

This question is crucial as it sets the context for his complaint to Mr Seah about Mr Murali’s statement against him on 3 August.

By not answering Mr Leong’s direct question and stating that he did not wish to engage in a debate, Mr Seah is sidestepping the central issue that Mr Leong aims to clarify with his complaint.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, who was nominated as the next Speaker of Parliament, had previously expressed his desire to be judged by his actions, especially given increased scrutiny of the Speaker’s impartiality.

Speaking to The Straits Times at FairPrice Group’s 50th-anniversary gala dinner at Marina Bay Sands on 22 July, he mentioned his wish for his actions to speak for his ability to remain impartial.

This came after Mr Tan Chuan-Jin’s resignation as Speaker of Parliament on 17 July, amid controversy. The role of the Speaker in Parliament and the need for impartiality were further emphasized by Mr Seah.

Mr Seah’s response to Mr Leong’s complaint offers insight into his understanding of impartiality as Speaker of Parliament.

Background of the Controversy in the Debate on 3 August:

In his speech, Mr Leong expressed concern about the emergence of a “rentier economy” in Singapore’s commercial property market.

While acknowledging the new law’s intent, he argued that it still favours landlords, allowing them to benefit from a rent structure advantageous to them.

Mr Murali responded by suggesting that Mr Leong’s comments reminded him of the Rent Control Act. This obsolete legislation deterred landlords from improving their premises, leading to the decline of buildings.

He said, “The honourable NCMP Mr Leong advocated some form of low rent control. I remember the impact of the Rent Control Act. Due to it, landlords were disincentivized to invest, leading to dilapidated buildings. Ultimately, Singapore suffered.”

Mr Leong refuted this claim, emphasizing that he did not advocate for rent control. The ensuing debate saw both MPs assert their stances firmly, with Mr Murali continuing to deny his statement and Mr Leong challenging the inference made. The exchange became intense, with Mr Leong even striking the rostrum for emphasis.

Mr Murali maintained his position, emphasizing that he had not insinuated rent control specifically. Seah Kian Peng, the Speaker, intervened, informing both MPs that their statements would be recorded in the Hansard.

Mr Leong challenged Mr Murali, asking him if he would apologize if records showed he had not advocated for a lower rent. Mr Murali declined the challenge, asserting the accuracy of the Hansard and standing by his statement.


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One denied insinuating a rent control, another denied implicating rent control, what is the problem and got to make life so complicated, huh? WTF is this LMW complaining about and wasting parliament time, indirectly wasting tax payer money as you folks here like to claim. Go shoot this life waster down, instead of putting up good proposal, triggered a useless long debate. Somemore want to debate further, really nothing better to do. RI really that lousy?

Sigh… business as per normal

Last time, lecherous TCJ. Now milo Peng

The Speaker of the House should be a retired judge not a PAP 🙉

Protectionist Action, member protect member.
How did Murali become so stupid to utter such terms?? Hmmm
PAP out totally lah. I guess it all started with Senior member Teo Chee Hean sleeping.

I predict 2 more retributions and disasters coming to haunt the pap again….as it had happened to the former speaker, the worse may happen to the current…and 摸那里is likely to face another retribution from heaven, over and above the one already visited on his own son…. the unjust and the liars will pay for their sins….

As blatant as it gets. How more blatant can it be?
Getting 70.40% must have given them a confidence boost. From now on, it will be an even more uphill task for alternative parties.

Even with Hansard as the “arbiter of fact/truth”, … LMW still got rebuffed, by the Speaker of the House !!!

So, Murali got away with it, which only goes to prove that when you’ve got the law and speaker on your side, … … “inside is invariably, not within !!!

To get to this putrid level of politics, … just to avoid saying sorry and an admission that one is wrong and out of line !!!

Bravo! The people deserve such a speaker and govt !!!!

Why of course. The red phone rang and he was told what to say and not to embarrass his team mates. Who could’ve guessed the outcome?

The 70% is in happiness.

The 30% has to struggle even when there is 100% proof.
The deck is PAP’s even though the ship is sinking.