India objects to Singapore PM’s comments on Indian lawmakers

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday took exception to the remarks by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong referring to criminal charges on Indian lawmakers, people familiar with the development said.
It is learnt that the issue was raised with the Singaporean High Commissioner at the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The remarks by the prime minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side,” said one of the people cited above.
The Singapore PM had invoked Jawaharlal Nehru while highlighting how democracy should work in the city-state during a debate in Parliament.
“Many political systems today would be quite unrecognisable to their founding leaders. Ben-Gurion’s Israel has morphed into one which can barely form a government, despite four general elections in two years. Meanwhile, a stream of senior politicians and officials in Israel face a litany of criminal charges, some have gone to jail.”
“While Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder. Though it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated,” Lee said.
“This requires us to uphold integrity, enforce rules and standards, apply the same rules equally to everyone, make sure nobody is above the law. If we can do that “consistently, persistently, unflinchingly” then we have a shot at making things work. People can trust our leaders, our systems, and our institutions.”
“Our democracy can mature, deepen and grow more resilient, as both the governed and the governing embrace and express the right norms and values. Singapore can continue to flourish. But if we allow ourselves to slacken, loosen standards here, just a bit; overlook a lie there, just this time — the virtuous cycle will stutter and start to fail,” he said.
The Committee of Privileges, chaired by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, was looking into Workers’ Party parliamentarian Khan’s conduct after she admitted on November 1 that she had lied in Parliament.
This was over a claim that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to a police station where the victim was treated insensitively. The committee has recommended that Khan be fined SGD 25,000 for stating an untruth in Parliament on August 3.
She repeated the untruth on October 4, for which the committee is recommending an additional fine of SGD 10,000. In November, Khan confessed in Parliament that she had in fact heard this anecdote in a support group she was part of and had shared it without the victim’s consent.
Khan, 29, resigned as a WP member and MP on November 30, a mere 15 months after being sworn in as Singapore’s youngest MP after the 2020 general election.
The 70-year-old prime minister said each succeeding generation must protect and build upon the system that Singapore has inherited.


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