Leon Perera: Sorry lah sorry lah, I blur, can?

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So we wrote previously about the would-be drama between Grace Fu and Leon Perera here and here. To recap – Grace Fu, AKA Leader of the House, wrote a letter to Workers’ Party NCMP Leon Perera last week. She asked him to apologise for his false statements that MediaCorp had edited and removed Parliamentary footage, and then only uploaded the correct version after he had intervened.

We expected it to get ugly. We expected much action. We even thought WP head Low Thia Khiang might stand up to help defend Perera.

In the end, quite boring lah.

Perera just said he is sorry lor.

He gave a personal explanation and said his memory no good. So he had recalled the sequence of events wrongly. He apologised to the House for making “inaccurate statements” and retracted his statement, also adding that he had not meant any ill intent. Surprisingly, Grace Fu gracefully (sorry, we just had to say it) accepted his apology – but also took the chance to remind the members that the House had to be built on truth. Leader of the House must have last word, lah.

Mothership reproduced the full transcript of their exchange, as seen here. We also copy at the end of this article for you. Because how often somebody say sorry in Parliament right.

We will give it to Perera this time. It’s always difficult to have to eat humble pie (and in front of all these ministers, members of Parliament etc). Which is a lot better than what we can say for his other fellow Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, who says all sorts of rubbish, doomsday things and did we ever hear an apology? No.

Sure, he should have known better than to anyhowly say things before trying to make a point of argument in Parliament. But come on lah, he doesn’t have a whole team of civil servants like some ministers helping him to fact-check even the weather forecast ok. 

Everyone makes mistakes. We also have days where our memories are bad. Just make sure next time you check and check your facts ok.

Or maybe can also drink more cod liver oil to improve memory.


Transcript of apology:

Leon Perera: “I would now like to definitively withdraw my earlier statements to the effect that the video had been edited with certain bits removed and that the video had been edited and only corrected after my intervention.

I confirmed that Mediacorp had explained this to me in February 2017 and I had accepted that.

I would like to apologise to the House for all incorrect recollections of the chain of events in February 2017 contained in this exchange as per house conventions.

However, I did not deliberately misrepresent the facts of that incident to this House.

Firstly, I did not plan to raise this during the supplementary questions. I did so off the cuff and only in response to a request to enumerate any incidence of editing that I knew of. As it turned out, my memory of the incident was inaccurate.

Secondly, I did acknowledge my memory might well be imperfect, as I prefaced it with the phrase quote ‘if my memory serves me well’.

Thirdly, I stated explicitly, and twice on that day, that the incident had been resolved amicably and did not accuse Mediacorp of partisan editing of a video clip in that incident, which makes the matter of when the clip was corrected immaterial.

I’d also like to reiterate that the main thrust of my PQs (parliamentary questions) and SQs (supplementary questions) had been the nature and ownership of parliamentary video footage, which was clarified as a result of the PQ.

Secondly, whether and how videos are edited, which was also clarified by the PQ that there is editing and in so far that means the arrangement of parliamentary exchanges in the clips etc but not verbatim editing of the exchange within a particular clip.

And thirdly why livestreaming of Parliament is not provided, an issue that SMS Chee explained the government’s position which is one I disagree since live-streaming would remove any concern about the reflectiveness of clips of particular exchanges are uploaded sometimes after the event.

In conclusion, I apologise to the House for any mistaken impression created by my failure of memory. I agree that parliamentary privilege is a privilege that should never be taken lightly. However, I did not deliberately misrepresent facts or deliberately mislead the House for whatever reason.”

Grace Fu: “The fact is that the member has indeed made untrue allegations and I thank him for acknowledging his misleading statements and also acknowledge his apology to Parliament.

I’d like to stress here that MPs are given parliamentary privilege to speak freely and surface different views but this must not be misused to misrepresent facts or mislead Parliament.

I’m glad Mr Perera has clarified his statement by withdrawing his false allegations against Mediacorp and apologising to Parliament.

Mr Perera has indeed acknowledge he has made a mistake in recollecting his facts. I will not want to read too much into his intentions whether there was indeed deliberate allegations against Mediacorp but statements which were wrongly made in this House deserve to be retracted if indeed untrue so the members are able to benefit from discussion and also to restore trust on each other’s statements made in this house.

It is only in this way that we are able to have useful and effective discussions in this House, because we believe what we say here, we have a serious basis for them and we will not make any statements unless we are very scrupulous with the facts backing them.

So I hope this serves as a timely reminder for all members of the house of the high standards of integrity and honesty we expect in this House.”