Motion to Suspend Standing Order 50(2) for Parti Liyani Case

PMO Ministers | 4 November 2020

Speech on Motion to Suspend Standing Order 50(2) for Parti Liyani Case by Indranee Rajah, Leader of the House, on Wednesday, 4 November 2020, in Parliament.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move, ‘That notwithstanding the Standing Orders:

a. The Minister for Home Affairs and Law may, in his statement on the Parti Liyani case, give Parliament a full account of the conduct of the police officers and prosecutors involved in that case, and clarifications may be sought and given on the account given by the Minister; and

b. Members may refer to and discuss the account given by the Minister when the motion standing in the name of Ms Sylvia Lim is under consideration by Parliament.’.

Sir, the Parti Liyani case has generated significant public interest.

a. Numerous questions were filed by Members after the High Court gave its judgment, including questions in relation to the Police investigations and/or the prosecution of the case by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and what would be done to address the issues that were identified in the High Court’s judgment.

b. Ms Lim has also filed a motion relating to the justice system and I understand from public statements made by the Workers’ Party that this will also touch on the Parti Liyani matter.

Given the significant public interest in these issues, the Minister for Home Affairs and Law will shortly be delivering a Ministerial Statement.

a. The Minister intends that Members should be able to seek clarifications on his Statement.

b. There is also a motion standing in the name of Ms Sylvia Lim. Given the topic of Ms Lim’s motion, it is also possible that in the debate on the motion, members may refer to matters in the Ministerial Statement.

The speech, discussion and clarifications are likely to go into matters that may also be relevant to existing proceedings.

Standing Order 50(2), provides that “[r]eference shall not be made to any matter which is sub judice”, that is to say, matters which are pending before the courts.

a. In order to allow the Minister to give a full account of the matter to Parliament and so that members will not be restricted in their ability to seek clarifications or to discuss or debate the case, which has raised issues of significant public interest, it is necessary to lift SO 50 (2).

It is for this reason that I am moving this Motion to lift the application of SO 50(2), so that the issues may be fully ventilated in this House today.

In so doing, I wish to sound a cautionary note. The sub judice rule is one that we normally adhere to, for good reason.

However, here, we will be discussing the issues because:

a. There is a clear public interest for the questions raised about our criminal justice system to be addressed sooner, rather than later.

b. It is not clear when the existing proceedings will conclude, and it is not satisfactory to defer the Parliamentary discussion of the case for months or indefinitely.

This should not be regarded as a general precedent, but something that is necessary for present circumstances.

I would also urge Members to exercise judgment in their speeches and clarifications, and to be prepared to substantiate any factual point they are making.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.