Apology accepted after Vivian Balakrishnan owns up to parliament trash-talking

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan speaks in a 2018 file photo at Novotel Singapore. Photo: Singapore Shell Employees’ Union
Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan speaks in a 2018 file photo at Novotel Singapore. Photo: Singapore Shell Employees’ Union

A politician called “illiterate” in parliament by Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan formally accepted his apology this morning.

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai said through his party that he had received a call from the minister who insulted him in comments picked up by a hot mic on Tuesday.

“I accepted his apology.  Let’s put our time to better use for Singapore and Singaporeans,” the statement on the Progress Singapore Party’s online pages said. 

It was while Leong was struggling to speak and stuttering his way through a debate on labor policy that a voice – clearly Balakrishnan’s – was heard calling him “illiterate.” 

Balakrishnan owned up to his unprofessional behavior yesterday evening.

“I called Mr. Leong Mun Wai today to apologize for my private comments to a colleague in Parliament yesterday. I disagree with him on the issue, but I should not have said what I said. Mr. Leong has accepted my apology,” he said online. 

But Leong was still salty that Balakrishnan had told his seatmates, which included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, that Leong’s elite education institution “Must have been a lousy school.”

Though I am also curious to know who are the other persons who were involved in the conversation and the reason why they held the institution that I attended in contempt, we must focus on the task at hand: improving the jobs and livelihoods of our people,” he said. “This is what the people entrusted us to do.”

Leong gave an embarrassing performance during the debate, including stuttering and staring at his phone at one point before fellow party member Hazel Poa tried to take over for him. 

Other stories:

‘He’s illiterate’: Hot mic picks up parliament trash-talking, internet pretty sure who did it (Video)
Singapore students appeal to retake exam botched by ‘horrendous’ accents

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