Singapore – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger brother Lee Hsien Yang took to Facebook to comment that the Multi Ministry Task Force for Covid-19 should have been spearheaded by experts such as Dr Paul Tambyah instead of politicians.
Mr Lee took to social media on Saturday (July 4) to share his thoughts on how the Government task force established to address the Covid-19 pandemic should have been created, or at least who should have been included as a member. The Multi-Ministry is co-chaired by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong with Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as an advisor.
“Perhaps the Multi Ministry Task Force should have been led by an infectious disease specialist, or at least a doctor instead of being driven by politicians,” said Mr Lee. He was referring to Dr Tambyah, who is the chairman of Singapore Democratic Party contesting at Bukit Panjang SMC for the General Elections, a professor at the National University of Singapore, and the President-Elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.
Mr Lee used Taiwan as an example, where the country’s Vice President is an epidemiologist and expert in viruses. “He led the fight against Covid-19,” said Mr Lee. “Taiwan avoided a lockdown, the disruption to people’s lives, and the massive attendant economic fallout as a result,” he added.
Mr Lee’s post included a channelnewsasia.com article featuring Dr Tambyah praising Government efforts at the beginning of the outbreak yet somehow “lost focus on public health and started thinking about the election” along the way. “A lot of this could have been done better, and the consequences are devastating. We’ve got…44,000 people infected and they are invisible to the majority of Singaporeans, but these are real people,” said Dr Tambyah. He has been vocal against the Government’s decision to hold the polls. “It is unprecedented to call for an early General Elections in the middle of a pandemic when we still have 100 to 300 new cases locally transmitted of a potentially deadly infectious disease,” said Dr Tambyah in a different account.
Dr Tambyah also shared Mr Lee’s post and thanked him for the gesture.
With over 2,400 positive reactions, members from the online community agreed that the task force should have included professionals and experts with the expertise in handling the health crisis. Facebook user Mohd Irfan Lim commented that Dr Tambyah “is more than qualified compared to anyone in the current task force.” Facebook user Man-Yang Jay called it “irresponsible” to put someone unqualified to handle a particular crisis. “Singapore should have appointed the best-qualified persons to tackle any serious situations regardless of their political affiliation so that it will ensure the safety of the people.”
Paul Tambyah is a NUS Professor, as well as the incoming president of the US-based International Society of Infectious…
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