Speaker and MP of Singapore’s Parliament resign over the matter

Making the announcement in a statement on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said their resignations were necessary to ensure the high standards of propriety and personal conduct the PAP has maintained all these years.

In a later press conference, PM Lee said that he became aware of the “improper relationship” between Tan and Cheng sometime after the 2020 general election, and advised them both to step down – at the latest in February 2023. .

But he recently received information that “strongly suggests that the relationship will continue”.

On 10 July, a video in which Tan was heard saying “populists” on a microphone during the first day of the debate on the presidential address on 17 April was uploaded to the social media platform Reddit while he was away.

PM Lee said he met Tan after the speaker returned from leave.

“During our discussion, he agreed to leave immediately – for his unparliamentary conduct as well as his inappropriate relationship with Ms Cheng, whom he told me he would break it off, but he did not. “

The resignations of Tan and Cheng last week saw Transport Minister S. This comes after Easwaran’s arrest and release on bail. The corruption probe involving Easwaran is ongoing.

In his letter to PM Lee, Tan said he was resigning from the party, as Marine Parade GRC chairman and MP, with immediate effect.

He said he had made a mistake in Parliament when he said words that were “vulgar and unparliamentary” in nature, adding that he had apologized for this publicly and to Workers’ Party MP James Lim.

Tan said the Hot Mike episode brought more grief to his family.

“I have disappointed them. We’ve talked about our personal conduct before. There are many areas where I fall behind,” Tan said. “I need to take responsibility for them and help my family heal.”

He said that he had discussed the matter with his wife and agreed that he should stay away from politics and devote himself to his family.

Responding in a letter, PM Lee said he appreciated Tan’s admission that he had fallen short in his personal conduct. He said he understood Tan’s desire to “move away from politics and help his family heal”.

During the press conference, PM Lee said that Tan had offered to resign in February. He accepted the resignation but first he had to ensure that the care for the residents of Tan in Marine Parade GRC’s Kembangan-Chai Chi ward continued.

However, when he learned that the matter was ongoing, he decided that “Tan must go immediately, whether arrangements are made or not”. “Couldn’t wait any longer.”

Minister for Culture, Communities and Youth Edwin Tong will look after Tan’s ward, PM Lee said, adding that he will nominate a new speaker and make a ministerial statement when parliament meets on August 1.

In her resignation, Cheng said, “I am deeply saddened to resign under these circumstances and I would like to apologize to the party as well as our residents and volunteers.”

Social and Family Development Minister Masagos Zulkifli will stand for Cheng in Tampines East.

Lee said: “Doing this to our friends and comrades is painful, and it can also be politically embarrassing and costly. But the PAP has to maintain party discipline and standards of conduct. Our duty to Parliament and the people of Singapore is paramount.

“It is absolutely inappropriate for the Speaker to have a relationship with a single MP. This is not right; This is not acceptable.

In his letter, Tan said the hot mic incident – which came to light after a video titled “SG Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-jin insults James Lim: ‘****ing populist'” was uploaded to Reddit. came in – had raised widespread questions about his neutrality and impartiality as Speaker.

Tan was responding to Associate Professor Lim’s speech on doing more to help low-income Singaporeans.

He said, “Obviously, there has been a lot of unease about my comments. Many people felt that I was not fair,” Tan wrote.

He said others also felt it was “unbecoming conduct” of the Speaker of Parliament and some have called for his resignation.

Tan said, when such mistakes happen, all MPs, including himself, must apologize and retract their comments.

However, as Speaker, he “should have known better” and held himself to a higher standard, he said, adding that the credibility of Parliament and the seat is important and cannot be compromised.

Mr Tan was elected MP for Marine Parade GRC in 2011 and became the 10th Speaker of Parliament on 11 September 2017. He was the first Minister of Social and Family Development and Minister of Manpower.

Ms. Cheng made her political debut in the 2015 general election in Tampines GRC.

Both have deleted their social media accounts.

Before this, then Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned in 2012 after admitting to an extramarital affair with a staff member of the People’s Association who had been working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

PAP MP David Ong resigned in 2016 after reportedly having an extramarital affair with a woman who was a grassroots activist in his Bukit Batok single-seat ward.