MPs, where are your commitment?

Questions over lack of quorum

Source: The Straits Times,  Jul 14, 2014

I WAS disappointed to read that there were too few members in a recent Parliament sitting to pass two Bills (“Eugene Tan keeps an eagle eye on quorum numbers”; last Tuesday).

A few questions came to my mind.

First, MPs voted in by the people are the voice of the people in the House. But how are they going to be the people’s voice if they do not attend the debate on certain Bills to be passed?

Does the House keep a record of how often a member is absent from such proceedings?

Second, why did the sessions proceed in the first place if the House did not already have the required number of elected MPs present as specified under the Constitution?

Third, what are the common reasons for MPs’ absence from such proceedings? Are these members holding too many appointments outside the House?

Lastly, if there are so many members absent from such proceedings, how good and effective is the debate in the House?

It may be better to delay a vote on a Bill until there is a quorum. If not, it may give the impression that the proceeding does not carry weight as a decision might have been made before a vote.

Leong Kok Seng