SINGAPORE, July 17 — Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Member of Parliament (MP) Cheng Li Hui have been having an “inappropriate relationship” and they had to resign as they did not break it off despite being told, most recently in February, to do so, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today.
Lee revealed this to news editors during a briefing on the two resignations, which were announced earlier today.
During the briefing, Lee also said that he will nominate a new Speaker by the next sitting of Parliament, on August 1 when he will also be making a Ministerial Statement. In the meantime, Deputy Speaker Jessica Tan will be the Acting Speaker.
Lee noted that in recent weeks, Tan made headlines for a “hot mic” incident in which he could be heard using unparliamentary language in reference to opposition MP Jamus Lim.
But he added that this issue of the inappropriate relationship with Cheng, an MP for Tampines Group Representation Constituency, was “the more serious matter”.
“(This is) because he was the Speaker and she is an MP, and there should not have been a relationship,” he said.
Lee said that he had most recently spoken to Tan about the inappropriate relationship in February.
At that time, Tan admitted what he did was wrong and offered his resignation.
“I had accepted his resignation. But I told him: first I needed to make sure the residents of Kembangan-Chai Chee and Marine Parade continued to be taken care of. Meanwhile his relationship with Cheng had to stop,” said Mr Lee.
“But very recently, I came across information that strongly suggested that the relationship had continued. I decided then that Tan had to go forthwith, whether or not the arrangements were ready,” he added.
“It could not wait any longer.”
Lee said that as members of the People’s Action Party (PAP), they were expected to uphold high standards of propriety and personal conduct.
“PAP MPs — whether they are Ministers or backbenchers — must uphold these cardinal values at all times. Without party discipline, without integrity, we are nothing, so this is an absolute requirement,” he said. — TODAY