MPs: Put casino issue to the voteAzhar Ghani
2 March 2005
(c) 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
One wants a vote in Parliament; another, a referendum
SOME Singaporeans believe the Government has made up its mind about having a casino here.
Still, two Members of the House want the controversial issue to be put to the vote.
Mr Tan Soo Khoon (East Coast GRC) feels the issue is important enough to be debated further in Parliament, while Nominated MP Loo Choon Yong wants a referendum to be held for Singaporeans to vote on it.
Mr Tan, who stoutly opposed the casino proposal in the House on Jan 17, yesterday suggested MPs be allowed to vote according to their conscience and not be compelled to vote on party lines.
By lifting the Whip during the vote, 'Singaporeans will know where each MP stands,' he said, noting that 'only a handful' of MPs have raised the issue in Parliament.
The veteran MP is also worried that the decision is 'already tilting in favour of having a casino'.
Calling it an integrated resort is a red herring because the casino will still be the centrepiece, he said.
'Otherwise, you can be sure all the casino moguls around the world will not be scrambling here for a piece of the action if it is just to provide wholesome family entertainment,' he added.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said a final decision will be made in mid-April, but the Government has invited local and international companies to outline concepts for the project.
Between 15 and 20 players are said to have submitted proposals by the deadline two days ago, and this has convinced Non-Constituency MP Steve Chia that the Government has decided in principle to allow a casino.
'Their intention to proceed is already clear. What is not decided is whether to accept any of the proposals,' he said.
'It's similar to the way the Singapore Land Authority calls for public tender for state land. Their intention is to sell. All they are waiting for is the right tender price.'
So, Mr Chia wants the proposals to be made public and discussed before a decision is made.
Dr Loo, who favours a referendum, said people have a 'mistaken perception' that the Government has made up its mind.
'Coffee-shop talk is that this (decision) is already 'kelong',' quipped Dr Loo, referring to the local slang for match-fixing in football.
He believes by 'submitting this issue to a binding referendum, the Government can also demonstrate that it really means to have a public debate and that people's views matter.'
Dr Loo said he personally did not believe in 'government by referendum' but felt a vote on the issue would clearly show Singapore's moral stand.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tan Soo Khoon said no to casino - where is he now??
Posted by . at 9:36 PM