Singapore—On Thursday (June 11) young activists’ site Wake Up Singapore asked on its Facebook page why a newsletter and insecticide had been distributed in Potong Pasir “by hand.”
This issue is a significant one because of the current coronavirus pandemic restrictions, movements on the ground are still controlled, and members of opposition parties who may want to make their presence felt as the next General Election draws closer, are not allowed to do the same.
The insecticide is being distributed in Potong Pasir due to the recent dengue outbreak, and the area is one of the places with incidents of the disease. The website of the National Environment Agency lists over 30 Blocks on Potong Pasir avenue as under Red Alert, meaning they are high-risk areas with 10 or more cases.
In its Facebook post, Wake Up, Singapore added three photos: One of a special edition of Potong Pasir Times, a second one of two containers of insect repellent, and a third photo of one of the pages from the newsletter where the Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir, Sitoh Yih Pin, addressed the residents. The MP is from the ruling People’s Action Party.
This was distributed to residents of Potong Pasir BY HAND. How come they can give out these propaganda material by hand…
In his letter to the residents, Mr Sitoh outlined the new developments in Potong Pasir, including different social amenities, programmes for residents of all ages, as well as a new Polyclinic in Bidadari. He also thanked residents for their support, especially the team of grassroots volunteers, and wrote that his team is committed to stay on course in fulfilling the promises made to the residents.
Wake Up, Singapore wrote, “This was distributed to residents of Potong Pasir BY HAND. How come they can give out these propaganda material by hand but opposition parties cannot do anything? Also, were PA fund (aka taxpayers monies) used to fund this?
For context, Potong Pasir is a dengue zone. So even while “helping” residents through a crisis they can’t help but to use it as opportunity to self-promote.”
Commenting on the post, netizens did not seem to take too kindly to the distribution of the newsletter and insect repellent, however well-meant, with some calling it out-and-out campaigning and electioneering.
One suggested that the incumbent may be afraid of losing his seat.
Potong Pasir has the distinction of being Singapore’s longest-held opposition ward, with Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Peoples Party (SPP) serving as MP from 1884 to 2011. In the GE of 2011, Lina Chiam, Mr Chiam’s wife, lost by the smallest of margins to Mr Sitoh, who at that time was a three-time challenger for the seat. Mr Sitoh led by 114 votes, while 242 votes had been rejected. He was able to keep his seat in the 2015 election.
This year, Pasir Potong may see a face-off between Mr Sitoh and SPP’s Jose Raymond, who has been engaged on ground in the area for the past two years. —/TISG