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Speaker denies NCMP Leong’s request to extend PQ time for CCE lessons

NCMP Leong’s request to extend MPs’ Question Time for CCE lesson issues was declined by Speaker this morning. Out of 21 oral PQs, only 12 were covered in the allotted 30 minutes, and 9 CCE-related PQs nearly addressed had the extension been granted.



SINGAPORE: Seah Kian Peng, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore on Thursday (7 March) morning declined a request from Mr Leong Mun Wai, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), to extend the MPs’ Question Time to 1.5 hours.

The Speaker reaffirmed that the allocated Question Time for the budget debate over the past two weeks had been 30 minutes since its initiation on 28 February.

He pointed out the considerable discussions held in preceding days’ debates and stressed his commitment to adhering to the allocated timings to uphold the schedule for the remainder of the debate.

At the onset of today’s parliamentary session, Mr Leong, an NCMP from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), invoked Parliament Standing Orders 21(1) to petition the Speaker to reinstate PQ Times for 1.5 hours.

His request aimed specifically at addressing Parliamentary Questions (PQs) concerning the Israel-Palestinian content within character and citizenship education (CCE).

Expressing concern, Mr Leong highlighted the potential inadequacy of the current schedule for Oral PQs to sufficiently address these significant issues.

“I’m sure many Singaporeans would like to know more. But looking at the order of the oral PQs time today, the related PQs are unlikely to be answered today.”

Last Tuesday, the PSP officially announced via its Facebook page that both Mr Leong and his PSP colleague, Secretary General NCMP Hazel Poa, had submitted PQs about the CCE lesson on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

These PQs were originally slated for response during the parliamentary session on 7 March.

This morning, the PSP provided an update claiming that both NCMPs were the first to arrive in the chamber and were prepared for the PQs.

Mr Leong stresses public concerns Over the CCE lesson saga

However, when Mr Leong raised concerns about the time allocation for PQs, Speaker Seah, who is also a People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC, rejected Mr Leong’s request and preferred to maintain the originally allocated time.

“Our Question Time has been allocated as 30 minutes. I would like to keep it as it is, if there are questions which have not been addressed adequately, they can always be filed.”

Mr Leong, expressing the importance of the issue, asserted that the CCE lesson saga had garnered significant concern from Singaporeans.

He noted that Education Minister Chan Chun Sing had previously mentioned during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate that the PQs would be addressed today.

“It is just a simple act of yours to extend the timing, ” Mr Leong told the Speaker, “The PQ timing anyway was originally 1. 5 hours. If you don’t want to exercise that, then can I have your assurance that the related PQs will be at the top of the queue at the next setting?’

In response, Speaker Seah reiterated that the issues regarding the CCE lesson had been extensively discussed during the Ministry of Education’s COS debate.

“If the proceedings today are fast enough that we can cover as many questions as we can, and which is how I’ve always tried to progress for all debates.”

“In fact, you yourself sometimes ask very long clarifications, and that takes up time.”

“My style is to allow as many PQS we address in each question time. I’ve always asked whether it’s during question time or during Committee or Supply (debate) to keep clarification short and likewise, I ask the responses from the front bench to be also short. ”

“Let’s try to progress as fast as we can and as I said, I think there was some discussion earlier on this subject.”

“If there are other PQS we raise in subsequent sitting, it will be dealt with in accordance with the rules and Standing Order, ” the Speaker added.

Towards the end of the session, the Speaker noted the delayed start and said that there was just enough time for one final PQ — question 12 from Ms Nadia Samdin, a question just before the questions related to the CCE lessons.

Emphasizing brevity, both the MP and Minister were urged to keep their responses concise.

Nine PQs filed by MPs related to the CCE lesson

As per the Order Paper on Thursday, a total of nine PQs related to the CCE lessons were filed by MPs, spanning from PQ13 to PQ21, including submissions from both PSP NCMPs and Leader of Opposition Pritam Singh.

Ms Poa inquired about making public the content of the CCE lesson on the Gaza conflict, and whether any teacher has declined to deliver the lesson and how such situations are handled.

Mr Leong asked if primary school students are being taught about the conflict in the CCE lesson or otherwise. He also sought information on the levels at which students are taught about the conflict and how the content is differentiated based on students’ maturity levels.

Workers’ Party chief Mr Singh queried the Minister about the lessons gleaned from feedback and concerns expressed by certain parents regarding the perceived historical selectivity and alleged imbalance in the treatment of the conflict within the CCE curriculum.

Leader of the House addresses oversight in omission of six NCMP Hazel Poa’s PQs

Leader of the House, Indranee Rajah, later addressed an oversight in Parliament, moving a motion to rectify the inadvertent omission of six Parliamentary Questions (PQs) filed by NCMP Hazel Poa from the order papers.

The discrepancy came to light when it was discovered that the six PQs submitted by NCMP Hazel Poa for the February and March sittings were mistakenly excluded from the order papers.

Indranee Rajah attributed this oversight to an unnoticed IT system glitch.

Ms Poa filed three PQs for oral answers and three PQs for written answers in February 2024.

“Ordinarily, notice of these PQS would have been given to members and they would have been listed on the order papers for the relevant sittings during the Committee of Supply period. ”

“However, due to an IT system issue that was not picked up, the six PQs were inadvertently omitted from such notice and listing,” Ms Indranee explained.

Ms Indranee highlighted that the Parliament Secretariat had promptly issued notices for the omitted PQs on 1st and 5th March, respectively.

Additionally, steps have been taken by the Parliament Secretariat to enhance the IT system and reinforce the processes for receiving questions.

The motion presented by Indranee Rajah, which was subsequently approved, allows for the inclusion of the omitted PQs in the next available sitting on or after 13 March. This is in addition to NCMP Poa’s standard quota of five PQs.

Minister Chan addresses CCE lesson backlash

Earlier, during the COS debate for MOE on Monday (4 March), Minister Chan Chun Sing acknowledged the CCE lesson has stirred strong emotions amongst many. It is also reflected in the range of PQs filed by Members for upcoming sittings.

“I think I would say something here today (4 March) to allow members more time than the 30-minute PQ time on Thursday.”

He recognized feedback from both teachers and parents regarding the lesson materials and stressed the significance of addressing these concerns.

Addressing queries from MPs regarding the MOE’s CCE lesson on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Mr Chan emphasized the continuous commitment to enhance the delivery of CCE, especially in helping teachers equip students to navigate the complexities of the world.

Responding to online discussions and parental concerns about the lesson, he outlined plans to tailor the material for different age groups.

In response to a Member of Parliament’s request for the release of the CCE lesson slides, Mr Chan confirmed that MOE decided against it.

He emphasized the limitations of slides in representing the nuanced teaching context and stressed the importance of face-to-face interactions to provide a more comprehensive understanding to concerned parents and the public.

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“Indranee Rajah attributed this oversight to an unnoticed IT system glitch.”, Hmm, looks like AI is doing its job on Oppos

If most of the referees, umpires, speakers, judges, magistrates, presidents, … whom are meant to be equitable and unbiased, who just so happen to be not, … … then it becomes a “wayang” where the “audience” either voice their disapproval and distaste or, … .., clap and rave for an encore and more !!!

What’s unmistakable is that the “wayang” is getting boring and, … somewhat predictable !!!

And there ain’t nowt anybody can do about it !!!

The speaker is answerable to voters or PAP? Regardless I m cock sure PAP DO NOT PAY his salary?



Why ONLY Leong n hazel’s PQs CANNOT be ANSWERED?

Why need to say that Leong’s clarification sometimes takes a long time, so how long is long?

Bottom line very clear……..don’t give oppo any chance just fix them?

As VOTERS who are your BENEFACTORS we can see that, you know?

If you GOT guts, do like West Minster, Got class

Just remove this subject as the controversy is only going to increase and the community will become more segregated. In time, the objectives of the US, the Israelis and the Arabs will be shown. Until that happens, this subject cannot be taught in schools from CCS lens view. It will be distorted.

When there something wrong, of course they don’t want people to ask questions.