Friday, July 19, 2024
HomesingaporeIn Your Opinion Podcast: Should the extramarital affairs of Singapore’s politicians end...

In Your Opinion Podcast: Should the extramarital affairs of Singapore’s politicians end their careers?

Synopsis: Every second and fourth Monday of the month, The Straits Times takes a hard look at social issues of the day with guests.

July 17 marked the death knell of not one, but four political careers. Just hours before the shock resignations of former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and ex-Tampines GRC MP Cheng Li Hui, a leaked video circulated online, showing former Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera stroking the hand of fellow party member Nicole Seah. This would spark an investigation by the largest opposition party, and result in the pair stepping down.

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But is it necessary for MPs to resign because of their private indiscretions? Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament on Aug 2 that there was no direct reporting line between the Speaker and an MP, and so a legitimate relationship would not be objectionable. Moreover, politicians worldwide have been embroiled in extramarital affairs, to no detriment to their careers. So are Singaporeans just over-invested in the private lives of public figures? Or must politicians be held to higher standards?

In this episode, ST journalists Ang Qing and Aqil Hamzah host Nanyang Technological University’s School of Social Sciences don Walid Jumblatt, 38, and National University of Singapore political science and philosophy student Maximilian Oh, 23, to learn about how different generations view the issue.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:00 Are Singaporeans able to trust disgraced politicians?

4:05 Should affairs be a punishable offence in Singapore politics?

10:45 Dr Walid on how Singapore looks at its politicians as “superhumans”; what do people look for when voting for a politician? 

13:05 Should disgraced politicians be cancelled, even if they did good work before?

17:00 Are different generations reacting differently to politicians having affairs? How critical is the element of deceit?

20:35 Will Singapore ever be “ready” for a politician to have a chequered personal life? Should this be tested at the ballot box?

Produced by: Ang Qing (, Aqil Hamzah (, Ernest Luis, Lee Yulin, Hadyu Rahim & Paxton Pang

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim

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