I refer to the article “Leon Perera: Questions not answered in Parliament” (TR Emeritus, Sep 30).

It states that “Some citizens I meet on outreach and house visits have asked me why they do not see WP MPs asking more questions in Parliament. In fact many, many Parliamentary Questions are filed by WP MPs.

Unlike most developed country legislatures, our Parliament generally sits for 1-2 days month, except for the annual Budget exercise. We usually get only one and a half hours for question time at each sitting. There is no weekly Prime Minister’s question time in Parliament, as in the UK, where the PM debates with alternative parties on key issues of the day. There are 83 PAP MPs who can ask questions, as opposed to only 9 WP MPs and NCMPs. The sequencing of questions is decided by the Speaker of Parliament and the Leader of the House. There is also a quota of a maximum of three oral questions and two written questions that can be filed by any MP for each day.

All these factors add up to severely limiting the number of oral questions asked and answered by WP MPs.

I filed the questions below in August that have not yet been answered:-

To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) which entity owns the copyright to video recordings of Parliamentary proceedings; and (b) if these video records are protected by copyright, if the Minister will consider removing copyright and making all video footage of Parliamentary proceedings freely available for use.

To ask the Minister for Transport what measures are in place to handle accidents where passengers fall onto MRT or LRT tracks in terms of (a) educating commuters on what they should do in the event of such an accident, whether they are victims or bystanders; and (b) the safety protocols that rail operators are required to conform to if such incidents occur.

I filed the questions below in July that have not yet been answered:-

To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry): (a) how many Singapore-based companies have cumulatively invested in the government’s overseas industrial park projects that enjoy G-to-G support, such as the Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City, etc; and (b) how many of these are GLCs, SMEs and MNCs respectively; (c) what evidence has been accumulated by MTI of the spin-off benefits to the domestic economy and to local SMEs of these government-supported overseas industrial parks.

To ask the Minister for Finance if the Ministry will regularly review the government’s commitment to reduce socio-economic inequality and publish the results of such reviews, in light of recent findings from a study by Oxfam and Development Finance International that rank Singapore 85 in the world in this regard.

I filed the question below in April (not yet answered):-

To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many of the official websites of Ministries and statutory boards meet the WCAG 2.0 or other international standards for website accessibility by persons with disabilities (PWDs); and (b) what steps will be taken to ensure that Government websites are accessible to PWDs to the fullest extent possible.”

In this connection, I would like to ask for the following statistics:-

How many oral questions have the WP filed this year?

How many written questions have the WP filed this year?

How many of these questions have yet to be answered?

How many follow-up questions have the WP asked?

What is the average time that it takes for the WP’s questions to be answered?

What is the breakdown of the above statistics for each of the WP MPs?

Has the WP ever filed a question complaining about the delay or non-answering of their questions?

How many times and where did the WP complain about the above problems?

Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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