The Union Ministry of External Affairs has summoned Singapore High Commissioner Simon Wong to convey New Delhi’s objections to a recent comment made by the country’s prime minister on criminal charges against Indian MPs, PTI reported on Thursday, citing unidentified officials.
“The remarks by the prime minister of Singapore were uncalled for,” said one of the officials, according to PTI. “We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side.”
During a debate in the Singapore Parliament on Tuesday, the country’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said that “Nehru’s India” has become a country where “almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder”.
Lee cited media reports to make the observation during a debate on how a democracy should function.
In his speech, Lee praised the first prime ministers of India and Israel Jawharlal Nehru and David Ben-Gurion.
“Things start off with passionate intensity,” he said. “The leaders, who fought for and won independence, are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David Ben Gurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too.”
Lee then went on to note that the vision of these leaders have been lost and added there was nothing to prevent Singapore on “going down the same road”.
“Many political systems today would be quite unrecognisable to their founding leaders,” he said.
According to a 2019 report by non-government organisation Association for Democratic Reforms, 43% of MPs elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections face criminal charges. The report said that 29% of the MPs have self-declared serious criminal charges, which include rape and murder.