Lift party whip for major policies: MP Inderjit Singh

The party whip should be removed when Parliament votes on major policies, veteran PAP MP Inderjit Singh told Lianhe Zaobao in an interview published on Sunday.

More MPs from the ruling party might have joined in last month's debate on the Population White Paper if this had happened, he added.

Even if the whip was lifted, he felt the amended motion, which makes clear that the 6.9 million population figure in 2030 is not a target and the Government is not deciding now on any specific population size for beyond 2020, would still have been passed.

The Ang Mo Kio GRC MP had rebuked the PAP's policy midjudgements in population growth during a parliamentary speech, but was among eight MPs absent during a vote on the amended motion three days later. The House passed the amended motion to endorse the White Paper with 77 ayes and 13 nays.

He told Zaobao:"A lot of people criticised me for not voting against the motion.

"I feel that this is an unreasonable criticism. Just because I didn't do so, they say I say one thing but do another.

"Moreover, the party whip wasn't removed, so everyone should know the outcome of the vote."

He pointed out that the opposition Workers' Party had also not lifted its whip during the vote, adding: "People must accept there's party discipline and rules on such matters."

In a previous interview with the Straits Times, he admitted he was in Parliament earlier on the day the vote was taken, but did not want to say if he had intentionally left the chamber before the vote.

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