Singapore – Manpower Minister Josephine Teo was asked if voter impressions of her were affected given the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, particularly in foreign worker dormitories. “I am not that important,” was her response and that the elections weren’t about any individuals.
On Sunday (July 5), Ms Teo was spotted at Jalan Besar GRC, the constituency she is contesting in, and answered a few media questions relating to her performance addressing the Covid-19 as Manpower Minister and if this has affected voter impressions of her. Ms Teo initially laughed at the question and added she was not that important, as seen in a channelnewsasia.com post. “I don’t think the residents feel that this is a referendum of me, per se. Elections is (sic) not about any individuals,” said Ms Teo. She noted that for this particular year, the elections were about lives, jobs and the future. “I think they (the voters) will make up their own minds.”
Ms Teo mentioned that they have explained what went on at the foreign worker dormitories and the Covid-19 outbreak there. “In fact, quite a lot of residents encouraged me and also said that it is a very difficult situation.” She admitted no one expected the pandemic. “Of course, when we look back and examine everything we have done up to now, as well as our plans going forward, I’m sure we will find many areas of improvement,” said Ms Teo. “I’m sure (there were) many valuable lessons learned, and that is the attitude all of us bring to the table,” she added.
Members from the online community disagreed with Ms Teo’s statements, saying she was indeed essential, especially in her role in Government. “If you think you are not important, then you belittle the responsibility that you’re tasked to do well in,” said Facebook user Maes Enna Yram. The sheer subject of whether or not a GE should become a referendum on one’s performance begs to ask the logical question of how the topic emerged, said Facebook user Chye Ann Soh who added the analogy that there could be no smoke without a fire.
Netizens also commented on Ms Teo’s statement about the elections not being about individuals because the opposite is true. “Even an auntie buying oranges at the market picks out the best looking ones,” said Facebook user Alvin Teo. Another concerned citizen confirmed that he would “definitely want to vote for the correct individual candidate in a party” because they are important.