Leong Mun Wai removes some allegations from Facebook post, reiterates he was 'wrong' to say ex-Keppel O&M execs were guilty of bribery
Mr Leong Mun Wai said he did not intend to cast aspersions on ministers or act in an unparliamentary manner, and that the points he raised were solely based on public interest.
- Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai deleted parts of his Facebook post on the evening of Mar 23
- The Facebook post, which he made on Mar 20, had called into question the government’s characterisation of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern as having "absconded"
- The deleted lines included one that accused Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam of bringing up a past court case to "muddy the waters"
- Mr Leong also removed a line that said that Mr Shanmugam and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean had run the risk of turning Parliament into "a platform to colour public opinion on criminal proceedings"
SINGAPORE: A day after refusing to withdraw several statements he had made on Facebook and being called out for "unparliamentary conduct", Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leong Mun Wai of the Progress Singapore Party deleted parts of his post on Thursday evening (Mar 23).
Hours later, Mr Leong also reiterated that he was wrong to suggest that the former Keppel Offshore and Marine (O&M) executives allegedly involved in a bribery scandal were "all guilty", and he agreed with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam that their names need not be disclosed.
The Facebook post, which he made on Monday, had called into question the government's characterisation of Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern as having "absconded".
This led to a ministerial statement by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Wednesday, who repeatedly quizzed Mr Leong about his understanding of the government disclosure that the Lees were being investigated by the police for lying under oath over Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's will.
On Thursday, Mr Leong said that he had withdrawn part of his statements. This included a line that accused Mr Shanmugam of bringing up a past theft case involving Indonesian domestic worker Parti Liyani to "muddy the waters".
In his explanation, Mr Leong said that the post was initially intended to raise certain points that were weighing on his mind after he had deliberated on Mr Shanmugam's response to his parliamentary question on Monday.
"As I confirmed in Parliament, it was not my intent to cast aspersions on the Ministers nor act in an unparliamentary manner. The points were raised solely in the public interest," said Mr Leong.
Mr Leong on Thursday also deleted the parts of his Facebook post that stated that Mr Shanmugam and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean had run the risk of turning Parliament into “a platform to colour public opinion on criminal proceedings”.
"Absconding is a criminal offence and it should be for the courts to decide whether Mr and Mrs Lee have done so. It is not for the minister to pre-judge on that score," Mr Leong wrote earlier. "We need more clarity to ensure that a double standard is not being practised."
On Wednesday, Mr Leong and Mr Shanmugam were involved in a lengthy and tense exchange in Parliament, with Mr Shanmugam saying that Mr Leong's allegations on social media had "breached parliamentary privilege".
Following the heated debate, Mr Leong also apologised to Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin about how he had responded to one of his questions.
When Mr Tan sought to clarify whether Mr Leong was withdrawing the allegation that the unnamed former Keppel O&M executives were guilty, Mr Leong replied: "Speaker, if the minister didn't ask me, I suggest you do not ask."
However, Mr Leong refused to withdraw other claims he made in his original post, prompting Mr Shanmugam to state that "next steps" will be considered over the NCMP's behaviour of "abusing parliamentary privilege" and breaching parliamentary rules.
In his post on Thursday, Mr Leong said that he will not be deleting the entire Facebook post because he considers other points mentioned as valid and were not objected by members of the House.
“It would, therefore be a disproportionate response to delete the entire post,” he said.
On Friday afternoon, Mr Leong made further edits to his explanatory statement, stating that he had agreed with Mr Shanmugam in Parliament that the names of the Keppel O&M executives need not be disclosed.
"They were not charged, and I was wrong to suggest that they were all guilty," he added.
He also amended his Monday's post further, with the latest edits stating that the general public would prefer not to hear about the 38 Oxley Road issue again.
This replaced a line that stated the public viewed the Keppel O&M case as more significant than the Oxley Road issue.
This story was originally published in TODAY.