Workers' Party NCMP Leon Perera and Leader of the House Grace Fu.
SINGAPORE: The opposition Workers’ Party’s Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Leon Perera on Monday (Jan 8) apologised for what he called “incorrect recollections” of claims made last year that broadcaster Mediacorp had edited Parliament footage.
Last week, Leader of the House Grace Fu, who is also Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, called on Mr Perera to apologise at the Jan 8 sitting for “misrepresenting facts” and “misleading” Parliament.
She asked that he withdraw “false allegations” made in Parliament in November 2017, when Mr Perera said Mediacorp had edited and removed parts of a video of a parliamentary exchange during the Presidential Elections debate earlier in the year. He had added that the national broadcaster “made rectification and put up a different clip” only after he contacted them.
Mr Perera had emailed Mediacorp on Feb 20 last year to ask why a certain portion of the said video was not available online. Mediacorp replied on the same day, explaining a technical glitch had affected the recording, and the issue had been fixed on Feb 18, two days before his email. On Feb 21, Mr Perera replied to Mediacorp accepting this explanation.
In a personal statement to the House on Monday, Mr Perera said: “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.
“However, I did not deliberately misrepresent the facts of that incident to this House. 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.”
Mr Perera added: “I did acknowledge my memory might well be imperfect as I prefaced it with the quote ‘if my memory serves me well’.
“I stated explicitly, twice on that day, that the incident had been resolved amicably and did not accuse Mediacorp of partisan editing, which makes the matter of when the clip was corrected immaterial.
“I’d also like to reiterate that the main thrust of my (questions) had been the nature and ownership of parliamentary video footage, which was clarified, and whether and how videos are edited, and why livestreaming of Parliament is not provided.
“I apologise to the House for any mistaken impression created by my failure of memory,” he concluded. “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.”