SG News (Straits Times)

Forum: Electioneering? It’s just what we do every week

By July 2, 2020 No Comments
The lunch time crowd near Market Street on March 24, 2020.

The lunch time crowd near Market Street on March 24, 2020.

In her letter to The Straits Times , Dr Kanwaljit Soin suggests that ministers and their volunteers should not be walking in their constituencies, inferring that this is electioneering and therefore a distraction from the fight against Covid-19 (Time now to focus on outbreak rather than think of election, March 27).

Stringent measures are in place to keep Singaporeans safe. Many have acknowledged that our Government has done a decent job.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled a blockbuster $55 billion Budget to help Singaporeans cope with the economic fallout of this outbreak.

This does not look like a government that has lost focus, but one that has taken this outbreak seriously from the start. We cannot afford to take the optimistic view that normalcy will be restored soon.

If the pandemic lasts beyond this year, there is no basis for the Government to extend its term beyond constitutional limits.

We have to decide whether we trust this government and give it a strong mandate to do the necessary to put us on track for recovery.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is frank about this. Should an election take place during this outbreak, Singaporeans will no doubt decide for themselves. It does not appear that the Government is rushing into this.

To suggest, therefore, that holding elections soon shows anxiety seems to be off the mark. It shows a lack of understanding of the real, serious issues the country faces. Dr Soin should trust in the wisdom of Singaporeans to decide for themselves if a general election is called.

Also, Dr Soin will note that the MPs, ministers and volunteers have been walking around their constituencies week in, week out.

Through the outbreak, we have helped out with mask and hand sanitiser distribution, checking in on residents, guiding them on how to stay safe and healthy.

The pictures that Dr Soin saw over the weekend were just that of a typical weekend.

While we cannot stop the media from speculating about prospective candidates as we approach the elections, many who were singled out are fellow grassroots leaders who have been serving for some time now.

In a crisis like this, it is all the more important for ministers, MPs and volunteers to reach out to Singaporeans, get feedback, and understand directly what is happening.

Leadership, in a crisis, includes being with the people, giving them confidence.

Allan Tham

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