Break out the toothpaste.
By Belmont Lay
Lim Wee Kiak, People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, had to eat his own words — again.
This time round he had to retract his comments about the way Malaysia is handling the missing MH370 plane incident.
Lim, who is also the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs, was unusually critical about the Malaysian authorities in an interview with The Straits Times on April 5, 2014.
Here is a look back at all the things he has said publicly that weren’t too popular:
1. April 5, 2014:
Lim said Malaysian authorities were not straightforward in their handling of the MH370 case:
“If they didn’t have information, they should just say they have no information, rather than come up with a lot of theories. When they do this, people will think they already have some information.”
He also said Singapore was better at managing the media:
“If you look at what happened in the MI185 and SQ006 incidents (the first was a SilkAir flight that crashed in Indonesia in 1997, and the second was a Singapore Airlines flight that crashed in Taiwan in 2000), I think SIA had better media management. There was just one spokesman, so at least information is clear, coherent.”
Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Foreign Affairs) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Culture, Community and Youth) Sam Tan has come out to say that Lim’s views do not represent that of the Singapore government.
2. Oct. 2013:
The last time Lim caused a bit of a hullabaloo was in October last year, where he spoke about the topic of doing National Service as a privilege:
“What you realise from this survey is that majority are not asking them (PRs) to serve exactly the same two years system. In fact, serving the two years is a privilege. I am quite glad that many Singaporeans realised that and that should be a privilege that belongs to Singaporeans.”
3. Feb. 2013
During a parliamentary debate one year ago, when Workers’ Party’s chief Low Thia Khiang said that his remarks were taken out of context, Lim said:
“I will quote (from your speech then) one more time. And maybe your hearing aid has to be (turned) up a little bit.”
Low remained stone-faced.
Lim later apologised for the remarks:
“Madam Speaker, in the heat of the very passionate debate, I’ve made some very insensitive remarks about Mr Low. I would like to express my sincere apologies to the honourable member Mr Low Thia Khiang for my comments on his hearing aid.”
4. May 2011
During the debate on ministerial salaries, Lim said:
“If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discusses policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”
Following a backlash over his remarks, Lim said that “on further reflection”, what he said was “inappropriate and incorrect.”
“On further reflection, I agree that the example I quoted regarding a MICA minister meeting the heads of telcos and saying that there may be some loss of face if the minister’s salary is low is inappropriate and incorrect. I withdraw those remarks and apologise for making them. Dignity cannot be and must not be measured purely in monetary terms.”