Singapore – Members from the online community couldn’t agree more with Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing’s statement that the focus of all opposition parties right now should be getting through the Covid-19 crisis. Netizens added on the report and asked why then, were the General Elections called for amid a pandemic.
Mr Chan highlighted a missing point among opposition party manifestos and discussions, which was the focus on addressing the current crisis. Instead, parties zeroed in on conducting a check and balance on the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP), whether the opposition would be wiped out, among other issues, reported straitstimes.com. “I think the most important thing still goes back to this central issue: how we are going to get through this crisis,” said Mr Chan during a walkabout in Tanjong Pagar GRC on Saturday (July 4).
While he delivered his half-time assessment of the elections campaign thus far, Mr Chan urged everyone to bring back the focus on what he called an existential challenge. “I think every party, including the PAP, must have the plans to share with the voters how we are going to get through this situation,” he added.
Mr Chan noted that the General Elections was not about the survival of a particular opposition party or how many seats the PAP is going to secure. “This election is really about how we get through this,” he said. Mr Chan, who is a member of the Multi Ministry Task Force established to handle the pandemic, mentioned that their efforts have not ceased in helping Singapore “sail through” this period.
In response to the opposition parties pushing for more checks and balances in Parliament, Mr Chan left it to the voters to decide which Members of Parliament could address their needs and expectations. “Has the Government done well? If the Government has done well, should we affirm the Government or should we punish the Government by giving the (PAP) Government even fewer seats?” he added. On the other hand, if the opposition has not done well, Mr Chan asked if they should be rewarded with more seats “just on the slogan that they will provide more checks on the Government.
Mr Chan’s statements garnered numerous responses from the online community, with many wondering if the Covid-19 crisis was truly important for the incumbent party on the grounds that the General Elections should not have been called for amid an ongoing pandemic.
Facebook user Jovan Neo asked if Mr Chan questioned the timing of the election with his leaders and asked if it was safe for Singapore when the pandemic hasn’t subsided. Meanwhile, Facebook user Jonus Jun provided two other inquiries “if the election is not about how many seats PAP is going to get,” which was how Mr Chan described it. One was on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s justification for calling the elections and the other on his request for a mandate. “Why don’t they wait until the pandemic is over then call the election,” added the concerned citizen.
Facebook user Mohammad Nizam Abdul Kadir called the “total disregard” for public health and safety as “ironic as stark as cotton and wool.”