Singapore—On Thursday (May 21), the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) hosted the MeetPSP-West webinar, a two-hour-long online session where several party members discussed PSP’s plans and vision.
The session also answered questions from netizens concerning Singapore’s management of the coronavirus crisis, the party’s recent resignations, and expulsions, what can be done for low-wage earners in the country, and other current topics.
PSP Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock called the webinar the “first of its kind in SG,” and said that other such fora would follow. It may well be part of the new normal, he added.
Moderated by Craig Teo, the PSP panel comprised of Dr Tan, Hazel Poa, Wendy Low Wei Lin, Abas Kasmani, Jeffrey Khoo, Lu Kee Hong, MunWai Leong, Choo Saun Ming, and Nadarajah Loganathan.
MeetPSP with Dr. Tan Cheng Bock – WEST
Posted by Progress Singapore Party on Thursday, May 21, 2020
Members of the public chimed in with their questions throughout the webinar, with different panel members coming forward to answer.
One question concerned what PSP would have done differently to manage the coronavirus crisis. Dr Tan, a longtime physician, underlined that he would have pushed for immediate detection and isolation, and would have separated those who are sick from those who are not, especially for foreign workers living in dormitories.
“I come from a generation where I managed infectious disease very, very commonly. In my generation we had tuberculosis, we had measles, we had many infectious diseases that we had to manage…straightaway (with) detection and isolation. This is very very important,” he said.
“So let’ discuss the dormitory problem. The dormitories are an area that would always be a danger for this Covid-19 spread…because of the compact nature of the people (living there).”
He added that everyone should have been tested in the dormitories right away, with those who tested negative for the coronavirus moved out quickly.
“All the patients who tested positive, keep them in the dormitories. But those were negative you must quickly move them out. Because when you are tested negative and you are staying close to those who tested positive, there are also risks… So it’s best to move them out immediately all of those were tested negative to a place where they can be better controlled.”
He suggested that the workers who tested negative should be moved to a stadium since these are stand-alone buildings where social distancing could be practiced and hygiene would be better.
Dr Tan added that PSP will be discussing the coronavirus as a separate issue soon. “Our party is going to organize something. Then we will reveal more details.”
The PSP Secretary-General also publicly spoke about the recent resignations and expulsions the party has gone through, downplaying the effect of a few members leaving as “no big deal.”
A netizen had sent in a question regarding the “negative news about the PSP members” lately, as well as the party’s “high turnover rate.”
Member Abas Kasmani answered the question first, saying, “We started with 12 members and now have over 1,000. Obviously we have diversity, different baggage that members brought in.
For some of them it’s the difficulty of fitting themselves into the culture that we are building. I believe in the cultural movement of the party and I look forward to the traditions that this party will establish.”
Dr Tan answered the question in as well, saying, “In the beginning, everybody had a chance to join our party and work together. Now, over time, I realize that some joined the party expecting what the party can do for them.
I was hoping that when they joined the party they would make some effort to make sure that the party grows in strength and in its ability to help the country later on.
Then there are also people who believe that their way of doing things should be the only way. And they think that we should comply with their way of doing things.
We give everybody a chance. But sometimes, they got very big egos. And when you got big egos, it is very difficult. When their egos get hurt, they react very negatively.
We’re over 1,000 strong we had about maybe 20 to 30 people resigning. This to me it’s no big deal. Currently there are so many waiting to join us.
Those people who come in to join the PSP hoping to extract something from the party for themselves, I think even if they leave, I will not feel sorry.”
Several high profile PSP members have left the party in the last three months, including Michelle Lee, PSP’s vice chairman who stepped down in March; Jan Chan, who was removed from the party due to a controversial Facebook post involving the Koran in the Bible; Daniel Teo, who admitted to having made an anonymous video that contained allegations against several members of PSP as well as the Singapore Democratic Party; and Ravi Philemon, who announced his resignation from the party on May 12. —/TISG