The gist: MPs vote on motion on Iswaran, discuss polling day issues

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SINGAPORE – MPs on Tuesday voted against a motion to suspend Transport Minister S. Iswaran as an MP, which was moved by Progress Singapore Party Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa. They also discussed polling issues during the presidential election.

The key takeaways:

1. House rejects motion to suspend Iswaran

A motion proposed by Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency MP Hazel Poa to suspend Transport Minister S. Iswaran did not pass, with People’s Action Party and Workers’ Party MPs voting against it.

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah, meanwhile, had also filed a motion proposing that Parliament consider the case when the outcome of the investigations against him is known.

This was passed by the House after about two hours of discussion on both motions.

Why it matters:

Ms Poa said she was asking for Mr Iswaran’s suspension as she felt he should not be paid his MP allowance while he was being investigated for corruption and was on a leave of absence.

According to her, this was not a prudent use of taxpayer’s monies, and was unacceptable for many Singaporeans.

However, Ms Indranee said that suspension is meant to serve as a punishment, with cutting of pay a consequence, and in this case, the threshold to suspend had not been met based on Parliament’s rules.

Most of the MPs who spoke agreed that there was no basis for suspension under existing laws, adding that it was important to observe the presumption of innocence.

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh also warned that the PSP’s motion could set a precedent for a scenario where a future government could fix opposition MPs by way of politically motivated investigations.

Significantly, he said, a suspension at this point would overturn the el...

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