Tan Cheng Bock, Vivian Balakrishnan. Photos from Facebook.

Singapore — Dr Tan Cheng Bock, former PAP parliamentarian and chairman of the Progress Singapore Party, praised PSP’s NCMPs for their part in the debate on jobs and the foreign workers policy last Tuesday (Sept 15).

Dr Tan, who co-founded PSP in 2019, called the debate, which lasted ten hours, a “robust and lively” one, and praised NCMPs Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa for having “fought hard.”

Despite difficult odds, they endured relentless attacks and even disrespectful insults from PAP MPs. Yet with great courage and tenacity, they persevered – and I am very proud of them.”

Dr Tan wrote these comments in a Facebook post on Wednesday night, it was reported that PAP ministers, presumably Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng, were heard mocking Mr Leong during the course of the debate.

Dr Balakrishnan took to Facebook on Wednesday night to say he had apologised to the PSP NCMP. 

Dr Tan Cheng Bock also reminded the public that Mr Leong and Ms Poa are still new to Parliament.

“Some have criticised their performance but it is easy to forget that this is only their 1st term. They have learnt much from this session. And this will be one of many occasions where they will need to stand firm and hold their ground in the face of overwhelming odds,” he wrote in his post.

He also said that the debate serves as an important reminder to Singaporeans “on the significance of having an alternative voice in parliament.”

And even more significantly, “Now the public knows more than it ever did before,” he added, because “government policies were carefully examined and scrutinised.”

He also reiterated a point Mr Leong’s made in his speech on Tuesday, that the motion he filed is about Singaporeans’ jobs and livelihood, amidst accusations of racism and xenophobia from several ministers, including Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

“And I trust that the public will be able to tell that the issue at stake is not race or racism…but Singaporean jobs, Singaporean lives and Singaporean livelihoods,” wrote Dr Tan.

He added that Mr Leong and Ms Poa “are holding the Government accountable to provide answers to Singaporeans – let’s not forget that. We must not lose focus.”

The PSP  chair then thanked “Mun Wai and Hazel for standing up for Singaporeans and bringing their voice to Parliament.” /TISG

Read also: PAP ministers heard mocking Leong Mun Wai: “He’s illiterate, seriously, how did he get into RI?”