Pritam Singh slamming armrest in Parliament sends netizens into a tizzy; here's what really happened

Pritam Singh standing up and bowing before leaving Parliament on Tuesday.
PHOTO: MCI

As Parliament proceedings took place on Tuesday (Nov 29), Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh surprised his fellow Parliamentarians by loudly thumping his armrest and leaving the Chamber hastily. 

His departure came soon after fellow Workers' Party (WP) member, He Ting Ru ended her speech about the repeal of 377A. 

Video clips of Pritam's sudden exeunt quickly surfaced on social media, which showed other Members of Parliament (MP) appearing rather astonished. 

MP Vikram Nair, and MP Jessica Tan, who were seated next to Pritam, looked up in surprise, while Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin paused for a moment before calling NMP Tan Yia Swam to speak. 

Very quickly, several discussion threads and videos emerged on Hardware Zone, Reddit and TikTok, as netizens came up with all sorts of wild conspiracy theories on why Pritam left in such a hurry. 

Some speculated that Pritam was upset about what He said in her speech. 

https://www.tiktok.com/@jamies_fed_up/video/7171380103362907394?_r=1&_t=8XmDdtKgODi&is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=717138010336290739

Others pointed out that the thumping of the armrest usually signifies approval, but wondered why he seemed so "buey song" (displeased in Hokkien). 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit 

Thankfully, the man himself clarified the situation in a Facebook comment on Tuesday night.

"Toilet break! After thumping on my arm rest loudly in approval of MP He Ting Ru's speech," Pritam wrote, adding that he also apologised to MP Jessica Tan for startling her. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook

On Tuesday, Pritam said in Parliament that his party would be lifting the whip for debating and voting on Bills regarding 377A

"Not lifting the whip would deny WP MPs not in favour of a repeal of 377A the opportunity to vote freely and in doing so, to also represent Singaporeans who see this issue as a matter of deep religious belief and conscience," he said. 

However, Minister for Law K. Shanmugam countered Pritam's explanation as "factually untrue", elaborating that the "real point" was that WP, as a party, did not want to make a stand on whether to support or oppose Section 377A.

ALSO READ: 'Most difficult speech I have to make': MPs have their say in Parliament about the repeal of Section 377A

claudiatan@asiaone.com

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