Singapore – National Development Minister Lawrence Wong denounced the allegations made by opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Dr Paul Tambyah that the Multi Ministry Task Force for Covid-19 did not rely on medical experts’ advice in handling the pandemic.
Mr Wong confirmed during a press release on Sunday (July 5), as reported by straitstimes.com, that the remarks of Dr Tambyah were “baseless and false.” Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, revealed that they had always relied on scientific evidence and the advice of medical experts on all decisions relating to the Covid-19 crisis. “The medical experts are an integral part of our team, we involve them in all our deliberations, and every time Mr Gan Kim Yong and I do a press conference, we have the director of medical services (Associate Professor Kenneth Mak) with us,” said Mr Wong. “This has been the case since the outbreak started,” he added.
On the second claim of Prof Tambyah that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issued an advisory to employers telling them not to get their workers tested against the advice of medical experts, Mr Wong clarified that the advice came from the medical experts themselves. “Professor Tambyah has got his facts wrong. Because it was not MOM that unilaterally issued the advisory,” he explained. “It was the doctors and medical experts that had requested MOM to put out the advisory to the employers.” He mentioned the incident at Seletar Aerospace Park in February, which resulted in workers rushing to A&E departments in hospitals to get tested for Covid-19 and cleared fit to work. Mr Wong noted the doctors could not issue the memo and had asked MOM to put out the advisory to clarify the matter with employers.
“I fully respect Prof Tambyah as a leading expert in his field,” said Mr Wong. “But it is very disappointing that he has deliberately chosen to distort the facts just to try and score some political points.” Mr Wong had fully expected and prepared for the SDP to make such remarks but had expected better of Dr Tambyah.
In response to Mr Wong’s statements, members from the public perceive them to be “excuses covering up for the failure of the task force in handling the crisis.” The numbers speak louder, said Facebook Jason Tan. A netizen advised parents to teach their children to admit mistakes and apologise because this would gain more respect in the process.
Meanwhile, Facebook user Bernard Ong moved past the bickering of the parties and focused on the mishandling of the Covid-19 cases in foreign worker dormitories which still experience an increasing number of cases. Regarding the medical experts that Mr Wong was referring to, a few netizens requested for their names. “At least have a few more medical experts sit in the press conference like that I saw already also (sic) can believe we are in safe hands,” added Facebook user Mikki Tan.