So it was reported that last week in Parliament, not even a quarter of our 87 elected Members of Parliament (MPs) were present to vote for the passage of two Bills. Alerted to the lack of a quorum required to pass a Bill by Nominated MP (NMP) Eugene Tan, the Deputy Speaker rang the division bell to summon the missing MPs, who then, in the words of our mainstream media, “streamed into the Chamber to take their seats after a few minutes.”
Now according to the “Rules of Prudence” issued by the Prime Minister’s Office after GE 2011, “[PAP] MPs are expected to attend all sittings of Parliament.” PAP MPs have to seek the permission of the Party Whip and inform the Whip if they have to be absent during a sitting (see rule no. 23).
The current Party Whip is Gan Kim Yong, who is assisted by his Deputies Amy Khor and Teo Ho Pin. It is not known if the Whip had indeed been notified of the absences.