Friday, 9 March 2018

Shanmugam and Sylvia: the Clash of the Nemesis

Not since the days when Lee Kuan Yew and J. B. Jeyaretnam had frequent fiery clashes have we had two Parliamentarians so intent on having a go at each other

Sylvia Lim has the knack of getting under the skin of K Shanmugam who does not mince his words and gives no quarter. The Workers’ Party MP and Law and Home Affairs Minister have crossed swords numerous times, the latest being the testy exchange over the impending GST hike timing.

Both are lawyers, both do not suffer fools gladly. Sylvia has the tendency to wade into Shanmugam’s “territory” and he being ever protective and combative, is always up for a battle. The result: they have become each other’s quintessential nemesis or adversary.

Shanmugam is the one with a no holds barred approach, accusing Sylvia of being “hypocritical” and “dishonest” about her questioning of the GST hike timing. Sylvia, typical of such exchanges, stood her ground, but did not resort to name calling: “I can understand why he wants to accuse me of various things because he probably was not happy about past debates, where I had disagreed with some of his legislative changes and in typical fashion he always accuses me of dishonesty, when as far as I’m concerned I acted honestly.”

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K Shanmugam Sc March 2 at 10:00am

[ Debate in Parliament - exposing the dishonesty ]

I had an exchange with Ms Sylvia Lim. She made serious, baseless insinuations – that in essence the government was lying to the people.

I have seen her do this several times. Insinuate, never directly accuse, but run when confronted. Insinuate without basis.

Decided to point out the facts - which showed the truth, and asked her to withdraw the allegations.

When faced with the facts she had to admit that she was only putting out her “suspicions”. She also admitted that she had not checked her facts. First World Parliament?!

When confronted robustly- the trolls will come in with a spin - oh you see, here is the bullying again. For these spinners, an opposition MP can make serious allegations - but should not be confronted with facts.

Why? Because they cannot answer or explain what they said.

In rallies - very loud. But in Parliament- can’t answer.

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The Workers' Party March 1 at 10:46pm

In response to Shanmugam's assertions in Parliament, Sylvia Lim says that, "In typical fashion he always accuses me of dishonesty when, as far as I'm concerned, I acted honestly."

She says, "This is what we as MPs have to do, to get better clarity on matters of public interest. Of course, the Government can rebut our speeches robustly - that's fine. But I don't think I'm disentitled to come to Parliament to advance honestly held beliefs or suspicions."

Vid credit: Gov.sg

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Shanmugam calls Sylvia Lim dishonest, Lim says she is entitled to make GST trial balloon comment
Law & Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam (left) and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim crossed swords in Parliament on March 1, 2018. FOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENGRABS

In a testy exchange, Law & Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam & Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim crossed swords in Parliament on Thursday (March 1).

Mr Shanmugam accused Ms Lim of dishonesty in "implying" that the Government's announcement of the impending goods and services tax (GST) hike was "dishonest".

"Can I invite her to agree that that's a thoroughly hypocritical & dishonest statement & typical of the statements she makes in this House?" Mr Shanmugam said, calling on her to withdraw the statement.

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Mothership.sg 3 Mar 11:00 am

Sylvia Lim & K Shanmugam teach us new things while fighting.

While Sylvia Lim and Minister K Shanmugam fight over when to talk about the GST hike, we get to learn new things.

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K Shanmugam and Sylvia Lim clash in Parliament over planned GST hike

Shanmugam retorted, “Can I invite her (Lim) to agree that that’s a thoroughly hypocritical and dishonest statement and typical of the statements she makes in this House?”

‘Suppreesio veri, suggestio falsi’

Calling her suggestions “baseless”, Shanmugam claimed that Lim was “making an accusation that the government is behaving willy nilly, dishonestly”. He noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first spoke about a tax increase during the National Day Rally several years ago.

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The Online Citizen SG March 3 at 11:15am

Online commenters rallied behind Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim after Law Minister K Shanmugam lashed out against her comments about the GST hike in the Parliament on Thursday (1 March).

Ms Lim stated that the Government had floated a "trial balloon" about the need to raise revenue in the run-up to the Budget, then possibly "backed down" due to the negative public reaction, saying," I rather suspect myself that the government is stuck with that announcement. Otherwise, if that announcement had not been made, perhaps we would be debating a GST hike today."

Mr Shanmugam then commented that her statement is s a thoroughly hypocritical and dishonest statement and typical of the statements she makes in the house and asked her to retract her statement.

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Sparks fly, as PAP Cabinet ministers and WP MPs spar over GST hike
The heated exchanges between Law & Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim went on for about 10 minutes, and culminated in the calling of a division bell by Mr Heng. TODAY file foto

What would have been a routine wrap-up of the Budget debate on Thursday (Mar 1) was anything but, with Law & Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam accusing Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim of being “hypocritical” and making “baseless allegations” against the Government.

Ms Lim fired back by suggesting that Mr Shanmugam had a bone to pick with her for disagreeing with him on several occasions in the House, as Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat joined in the fray and demanded that Ms Lim retract her comments that the Government had postponed the goods and services tax (GST) hike because of a public backlash.

The heated exchanges went on for about 10 minutes & culminated in the calling of a division bell by Mr Heng, where all WP Members of Parliament (MPs) — excluding party chief Low Thia Khiang who was absent from Parliament as he had to attend to family matters — voting against the Budget. The 89 other MPs present — comprising those from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) & Nominated MPs — voted in favour.

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Law Minister K Shanmugam Verbally Spars With WP’s Sylvia Lim In Parliament Over Budget 2018

Law Minister K Shanmugam Says Sylvia Lim Insinuated That The Government Is Behaving “Willy-Nilly, Dishonestly”

Law Minister K Shanmugam and Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim are no strangers to each other.

The two have a storied history, frequently bandying words in Parliament over their respective party’s ideological differences.

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Channel NewsAsia March 1 at 9:18pm

WATCH: Minister K Shanmugam Sc and The Workers' Party MP Sylvia Lim spar in Parliament over the timing of the announcement of the GST hike. #SGBudget2018

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Readers' Comments on Channel NewsAsia March 1 at 9:18pm

Ben Oh
Shanmugam will attack anyone like a mad dog. He thinks he still a lawyer and Sylvia is a criminal. This guy has no respect for anyone.

Azman Nooh
She is speaking up for Singaporean. And it's true, that is the sentiment on the ground now. She done her job well as an opposition. ...See More

Martin Lee
The opposition have a right to oppose this budget bill cause none of the pap MPs have a guts to hold each of them accountable

Kok Meng Fong
Thank you workers party for speaking up for Singaporeans god bless u!

Kendrick Tan
Shanugam only bully WP mps who are in the weaker side in this house and when this law minister facing Dr Lee Wei Ling , he not dare to talk back as Dr Lee Wei Ling said he is unethical ,obviously is a big bully. Hahaha!

Patrick Yuin
A total waste of time in this parliament debates. It's never hv been constructive in anyway. It's all about power struggle. How many man hours from MPs and Ministers were put into it knowing the end results is already fixed. You call that "First World Parliament?".

Edmund Khor
looks like personal squabbling. waste of parliament time. if K Shan likes to interrogate, go back to court and bring new charges against the CHC 6 !!

Benson Tan
Shameless PAP. Using parliament to play politics. HELLO pls discuss things to advance citizens lives, not advance your politics!

Benson Tan
Didnt PAP use parliament to refute rumours of the #DishonourableSon abusing his office? But when Sylvia Lim brings up a suspicion to discuss, she is dishonest?! Hypocrites. Much!

Norman Wong
Final score result : Sylvia-Lim 1 - 0 K-Shanmugam

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“In typical fashion, Law Minister always accuses me of dishonesty”: Sylvia Lim hits back at Shanmugam

Lim engaged in yet another heated debate with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam. The pair have previously sparred in Parliament on the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act and the counting of the presidential terms, as recently as in the past year.

This time, the Minister criticised Lim for implying that the Government’s announcement of the tax increase was “dishonest”.

Lim had said earlier that the Government had floated “trial balloons” on a possible tax hike but possibly backed down after the public noted Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s comments in 2015 that the Government has enough revenue for the next decade.

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Online commenters rally against Shanmugam’s behaviour against Sylvia Lim

Law Minister K Shanmugam lashed out against Workers' Party Chairman Sylvia Lim after she made comments about the GST hike in the Parliament on Thursday (1 March).

Ms Lim stated that the Government had floated a "trial balloon" about the need to raise revenue in the run-up to the Budget, then possibly "backed down" due to the negative public reaction, saying, ""I rather suspect myself that the government is stuck with that announcement. Otherwise, if that announcement had not been made, perhaps we would be debating a GST hike today."

Mr Shanmugam then commented that her statement is s a thoroughly hypocritical and dishonest statement and typical of the statements she makes in the house.

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The K Shanmugam-Sylvia Lim-Heng Swee Keat parliament clash, explained

So on Thursday, March 1, the Budget debates concluded and were passed with a ruling-party majority (the Workers’ Party [WP] MPs present voted “No” because of the GST hike, explained in this story).

This would’ve been an otherwise non-event that takes place every year — because we have a budget, and by extension budget debate, every year — except that following an exchange between Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam decided to enter the fray.

And when Shanmugam meets Lim in Parliament, you’re almost guaranteed fiery debate.



Sylvia Lim and Shanmugam cross swords over “untenable” bill that allows for detentions without trial

Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim crossed swords with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament yesterday over the proposed renewal of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA).

This is not the first time the two prominent politicians have clashed in Parliament. The Minister and the opposition chief have previously crossed swords in the House over the age of the new Attorney-General and, perhaps more famously, over the counting of the presidential terms that triggered the reserved Presidential Election last year.

This time, Shanmugam and Lim contended over the CLTPA – a bill that allows for detentions without trial if the authorities deem such detentions necessary in the interests of “public safety, peace and good order”.



Readers comment that Minister Shanmugam’s response to Ms Sylvia Lim, suggest Government is above the law

In a Channel News Asia report dated 4 October (Wednesday), it is reported that the Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam stressed in Parliament that the call to start counting from Dr Wee Kim Wee's second term as President for the purpose of holding a reserved Presidential Election was a policy decision.

Mr Shanmugam was responding to Aljunied GRC Ms Sylvia Lim who filed an Adjournment motion to ask the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister of Prime Minister Office, Chan Chun Sing if they misrepresented to the Parliament on the counting of the first President from which the Reserved Election was based on.

During the Parliament held on Monday, Ms Sylvia Lim asked, "Did the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Minister Chan Chun Sing make misleading statement to the House that the question of which President to come from was illegal question? Did the Government all along make a policy itself to count from President Wee Kim Wee?"

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Law Minister K Shanmugam Tries to Put Sylvia Lim in Her Place during Debate on Reserved Election Count
“The government has always been clear that when it comes to the counting, it is a policy matter for parliament to decide and Ms Lim protests far too much.”

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam  tried to put Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim in her place when she raised the issue of the count leading to PE2017 being a reserved election in parliament yesterday.

He succeeded in repeating the points that it’s “on record” that he had made it clear that it was a policy decision and not a legal one. “I made this clear up front in a dialogue session held after the government released its White Paper.”

Regarding the PM Lee Hsien Loong speech, which Ms Lim quoted and said was misleading, Mr Shanmugam said: “I don’t see anything that’s ambiguous.”


Law Minister K Shanmugam Says WP’s Sylvia Lim Knows “All About Misleading Parliament”

Sylvia Lim Asks If Parliament Was Misled On Elected Presidency, K Shanmugam Says She Knows All About Misleading.

It seems like third time’s the charm for Workers’ Party (WP) Chairperson Sylvia Lim, after her motion to discuss the Reserved Presidential Election was finally heard in Parliament on 3 Oct. It was not easy for her to get a chance to raise the issue in Parliament, having failed to win the random ballot twice.

However, before Ms Lim could even break into a smile at the minor victory, Minister for Law K Shanmugam duly wiped the grin off her face with a smackdown for the ages. Here’s what happened.

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Law Minister Shanmugam Implies That Lawyer Sylvia Lim, Does Not Know The Law

Mr Shanmugam Also Alludes To Sylvia Lim’s ‘Wayang’ In Parliament On Facebook
“Absurd”. “Pure theatrics with no substance“, and “calculated to mislead”.

These are words used by Law Minister K Shanmugam to describe parts of a recent parliamentary debate — statements most likely attributed to Workers’ Party (WP) Chairman Sylvia Lim.

As revealed in a subsequent Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam wasn’t too pleased with what she had to say about the renewal of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA).

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“Ms Lim protests far too much” – Law Minister rebuts Sylvia Lim’s questions on reserved PE2017

Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim accused the government of evading parliamentary debate on the reserved Presidential Election and of misleading the public, in Parliament yesterday:

“Did the government all along make a policy decision itself to count from President Wee Kim Wee? Did the government merely use the AGC’s advice as a cover to avoid full parliamentary debate on why the count was not starting from President Ong Teng Cheong?”

Questioning whether the decision to count from appointed President Wee Kim Wee instead of the first elected President Ong Teng Cheong to trigger the reserved election is a policy decision or a legal question, Lim brought up speeches made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing, alleging that they used evasive language to distract the public and avoid debate on the term count in parliament.

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Law Minister K Shanmugam Tries to Put Sylvia Lim in Her Place during Debate on Reserved Election Count

“The government has always been clear that when it comes to the counting, it is a policy matter for parliament to decide and Ms Lim protests far too much.”

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam  tried to put Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim in her place when she raised the issue of the count leading to PE2017 being a reserved election in parliament yesterday.

He succeeded in repeating the points that it’s “on record” that he had made it clear that it was a policy decision and not a legal one.

related: The Public was Misled: The Key Issues Raised by WP’s Sylvia Lim on the Reserved Election Count

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Here are the full speeches given by Sylvia Lim & K Shanmugam on the reserved presidential election

Adjournment motion speech by Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim

President Halimah Yacob took her oath of office on 14 September 2017. President Halimah is a popular figure who is well-respected in many circles. She was also my former Member of Parliament, who worked hard to serve her constituents. Yet, despite her personal attributes, the lightning circumstances under which this government installed her as the Head of State have left Singaporeans reeling in its wake.

In the immediate aftermath of announcing this year’s Presidential Election as reserved for Malay candidates, the media reports highlighted how the public embraced the move with open arms, welcoming a Malay President after a break of 46 years. Yet, as the dust started to settle, it was clear that the public was very divided over this issue. At public discussion forums such as the one organised by the Institute of Policy Studies on 8 September, law professors and retired politicians raised legal issues and shared adverse public opinions on the matter. Social media exploded in critique and satire.

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Distasteful clash over what should have been a sensible debate on GST hike
This impudence, intolerance, bullying, belittling etc towards Opposition MPs must stop!

(In regards to the exchange between Minister of Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam and MP for Aljunied GRC, Sylvia Lim on 1 March) – My take as a Concerned Senior Citizen who has eaten more salt than any of the Members of Parliament.

t reinforces an already ugly perception of elitism, arrogance and rudeness that has been the hallmark of Senior Ministers, in particular K Shanmugam, Chan Chun Sing, Khaw Boon Wan, Dr Balakrishnan, who behave as if they are disciplinary school masters waving a cane, pointing fingers and picking on students they dislike (for little or no reason) in a publicly televised “classroom”.

They forget that people like Sylvia Lim are Elected Representatives of their constituency and act as the voice of the voters they represent. Is it so difficult to behave and act in a gracious, considerate and gentlemanly manner?

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Policies, politics and paranoia: Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah goes On the Record

He is referring to WP chairman Sylvia Lim being asked to apologise to the House earlier this year for alleging that the Government had floated “test balloons” before announcing an impending Goods & Services Tax hike. I put it to him that most ruling parties would consider it a natural instinct to defend their policies & make a point of it if they feel the other parties are trying to cast aspersions on their intentions.

“But still, there has to be some degree of balance because otherwise it’s going to backfire. The whole Sylvia Lim example, I think it won Sylvia a lot of sympathy points - the fact that people are trying to make her apologise for asking an honest question. You can say that the question is a stupid question, you can try to criticise her for that, but trying to make her apologise for asking a question seems to be a little bit like shooting yourself in the foot because it makes you come across like a bully.

“In a parliamentary democracy, if somebody asks you a question, you can make them look small or really silly, but to treat every question as an attack on your own personal integrity, to me, that's bordering a little bit on paranoia.”


WP's arguments "pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead"
Home Affairs & Law Minister K Shanmugam (File foto: TODAY)

Certain statements made by The Workers’ Party's (WP) Members of Parliament during a parliamentary debate on amendments to the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA) on Tuesday (Feb 6) were "pure theatrics" meant to mislead Singaporeans, said Minister for Home Affairs & Law K Shanmugam on Wednesday.

"My conclusion, listening to some parts of the debate: Pure theatrics with no substance, calculated to mislead," Mr Shanmugam said in a Facebook post.

WP had spoken out against changes to the legislation, which allows for detention without trial, with chairman Sylvia Lim calling the move to define the scope of criminal activities an “attempt to make the Minister (for Home Affairs) all-powerful”.

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Sylvia Lim and Shanmugam battle on the Reserved President



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