SINGAPORE: This General Election is not about the survival of any particular opposition party, or how many seats in Parliament the People’s Action Party (PAP) is going to get, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
It should be about how Singapore is going to get through the COVID-19 crisis and save jobs, said Mr Chan, who is part of the PAP team contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC.
Speaking to the media on Saturday (Jul 4) on the sidelines of a walkabout at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre, Mr Chan stressed that every party – including the PAP – must have plans to share with voters how they intend to get through the situation.
“Many issues have been talked about in the last few days, including whether the opposition will be wiped out, whether the NCMP (Non-Constituency Member of Parliament) scheme is good or no good … I read through all the things that have been said,” he said. “There is one part that is glaringly missing.
“And that has to do with how we are going to get through this COVID-19 crisis.”
Mr Chan cited the work of the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19, the National Jobs Council and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in continuing to try and “secure lifelines” even amid the “disruption of the global supply chains”.
“All these are the critical issues which we have to tackle in this election, and beyond this election,” he said. “So I hope that all parties and candidates can really focus on how we can help our country get through this difficult moment in history.”
HOLDING ELECTIONS AND NEGLECTING COVID-19 SITUATION “NOT THE CORRECT CHARACTERISATION”
Mr Chan also responded to a question from the media on whether the Government is neglecting the COVID-19 situation by holding the elections now.
On Friday, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for Bukit Panjang SMC, Dr Paul Tambyah, said in his constituency political broadcast that the PAP “recklessly decided to risk the public’s health” by holding the elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of “wiping out” the opposition.
Mr Chan, however, said this was “not the correct characterisation” of what Singapore is facing, pointing to each point of the epidemic curve.
The first wave of infection, he said, came in from tourists, and was “quickly controlled”, while the second wave came when Singaporeans returned from overseas, and was also controlled. The third wave, from the situation in the foreign worker dormitories, has been “brought under control”.
“If you look through the timeline on this, it is very clear where our efforts have been and what the results are,” he said, stressing that the Government is still managing the challenges.
Even at this point, he added, the Government has explained to Singaporeans why it needs to call the elections now.
“You will notice there are a few of us that are perhaps not doing as much of the usual campaigning,” he said, citing examples such as Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, both of whom chair the task force.
“All these are ongoing work,” he said.
Mr Chan was at the market together with his team from the PAP, including incumbents Indranee Rajah and Joan Pereira, as well as new faces Eric Chua and Alvin Tan. The group had coffee together, before walking around the market to greet residents and shop owners and hand out flyers.
“I think Singaporeans are fair-minded,” he said. “Has the Government done well? If the Government has done well, we should affirm the Government.”