RONALD LEE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has ordered that the Party Whip be lifted when parliament convenes on 3 July.
That’s when he will be making a Ministerial statement regarding the ongoing Lee Family Feud, and answering questions fielded by parliamentarians.
PM Lee’s siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, have accused PM Lee of going against LKY’s wishes to demolish the Oxley Road house, and alleged that he has abused his power as prime minister.
But the “lifting of the whip” statement by PM Lee has raised questions about the robustness of parliament and its members.
A key role of the Party Whip (Maj-Gen “Kee Chiu” Chan Chun Sing) is to make sure party members toe the party line and vote on bills in line with the party’s position (as with all other Party Whips across the world).
To lift the whip on questions (not to directly lift up “Kee Chiu” lah, but to allow PAP MPs to ask questions according as their conscience dictates) raises the issue of how robust exactly are issues being raised in parliament.
Parliament is the place where MPs are supposed to raise issues regarding governance, or concerns regarding their constituents.
They are supposed to debate fiercely and freely for the sake of the nation and the people they represent.
So now, what does it say when PM Lee says MPs and Cabinet ministers are urged to vigorously question him as the Party Whip has been lifted.
The prime minister should not be allowed to dictate when MPs get to ask tough questions in parliament.
Otherwise, what is “parliamentary democracy” worth?