Featured News WP’s Pritam Singh on the difficulty of opposition unity, and why he...

WP’s Pritam Singh on the difficulty of opposition unity, and why he believes PMDs will make a comeback

“I believe PMDs will make a comeback in Singapore, provided the regulations are fine-tuned and the infrastructure catches up (the latter is easier said than done),”wrote the WP chief in a Facebook post

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Singapore—The PMD issue has been a hot topic in the country of late, with the ban on e-scooters announced in Parliament on November 4, and with many PMD riders not taking the ban sitting down, particularly food delivery riders, whose livelihood is most affected by the ban.

PMD riders have been talking to their Members of Parliament (MP) at Meet-the-People (MPS) sessions on the issue, who in turn have promised to bring up their concerns with the Ministry of Transport and provide whatever assistance they can.

The government has also said that S$7 million has been made available in grants (partially from food delivery companies such as GrabFood) for food delivery riders to trade in their e-scooters for o bicycles, power-assisted bicycles (PABs) or personal mobility aids (PMAs).

But the PMD issue is still ongoing, with the latest news being the announcement of a rally organized by “peaceful” PMD users and scheduled for Saturday, November 23, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park.

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Prominent opposition leader Pritam Singh, the Secretary-General of the Workers Party (WP), aired his views on the matter in a Facebook post posted on November 13, Wednesday, saying he believes that PMDs “will make a comeback.”

“I believe PMDs will make a comeback in Singapore, provided the regulations are fine-tuned and the infrastructure catches up (the latter is easier said than done),” the MP wrote.

Opposition Unity ————————In 2013, on the back of the Punggol-East by-election, Mr Low delivered a rally speech on why…

Posted by Pritam Singh on Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The WP head said for his party, the issue of public safety is of chief concern, and he mentions having visited Madam Ong at the hospital, the woman who had collided with a PMD user and ended up succumbing to her injuries—the first e-scooter related death in the country.

“In the course of our work, the AHTC MPs and councillors also meet residents who are fortunately not hospitalised, but suffer painful injuries arising from collisions or report near misses, with the safety of children coming up frequently,” Mr Pritam wrote.

But he also acknowledged the economic benefit food delivery services have had on Singaporeans, writing, “On the other hand, the food delivery business has provided Singaporeans, especially the low-income and those who seek to supplement their income with on-demand work. In many cases, the opportunities provided by Grabfood, Foodpanda etc. go a long way to support families where breadwinners find it difficult to secure a job. PMD food delivery is an honest job.”

However, in his post, Mr Pritam also discussed the difficulty of uniting the opposition in Singapore, due to the differences between parties.  “The reality is that different parties and individuals have different philosophies, both ideologically and in terms of how we engage the issues of the day.”

He had linked his post to a Channel NewsAsia article about how Lam Pin Min, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Transport, calling out the ‘irresponsible and abhorrent’ actions of opposition leader at a recent MPS wherein Dr Lam dialogued with PMD riders.

Concerning this, Mr Pritam asserted that not all opposition parties have the same goals, and endeavoured to clarify what his party believes and seeks to achieve.

The Workers’ Party fundamentally believes that an opposition plays an important check and balance role and is an integral part of our parliamentary democracy, no matter which party is in Government and whoever is represented by the opposition.

To that end, our objective is not the destruction of our political opponents. It is beyond the horizon – a better Singapore for all Singaporeans. The way the WP approaches opposition politics is a reflection of this…

But not every opposition party believes the same thing. As a small political player in our landscape, the WP must get its political purpose right. To a large extent, this explains why opposition unity – notwithstanding friendly discussions and relationships amongst opposition members – remains a real challenge.” -/TISG

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