SINGAPORE: In Parliament on Monday (Mar 20), Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) called for the full report to be made public during the debate on the Covid-19 White Paper, even as he assured the House that the WP had come not to criticize the government’s handling of the pandemic, but to support the national effort during an unprecedented time.
However, the Leader of the Opposition asked why the government has chosen not to publish the original report from Mr Peter Ho, the former head of civil service who headed the COVID-19 After Action Review (AAR), adding that this report should be published in full for the public to come to its conclusions.
“During my Fortitude Budget speech in June 2020, I reminded the Government that Singaporeans had a right to expect a thorough review and accounting of the Government response to the crisis. Our position as a constructive opposition required us to communicate the feelings of Singaporeans in Parliament which necessarily includes a public expectation of government accountability.”
He noted that while the White Paper admits some of the Government’s shortcomings, “Singaporeans do not know what has been excluded from the original reports and reviews.”
He then asked if the White Paper contained the entirety of the report from the AAR, which presumably presented more comprehensive findings.
“Can that report be made available to Parliament, so that MPs and Singaporeans can better understand the breadth of perspectives gathered, the known data and facts, and draw their own conclusions? If there is confidential information within the AAR report that could harm national security if revealed, that could be redacted from the report,” he added.
“Why did the Government decide against publishing the original review report presented by Mr Peter Ho in full?
To publish the original AAR report would be consistent with the spirit of the motion, which seeks to affirm the Government’s effort to learn from the experiences of the last three years.
Not doing so will leave open questions as to the motive behind the Government’s presentation of a synthesised report authored by the Prime Minister’s Office,” he asked.
Several netizens on Reddit commenting on Mr Singh’s speech tended to agree with him.