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'Wrong and irresponsible' to call elections amid Covid-19: Cheng Bock

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Tan Cheng Bock reiterated that he had disagreed at the outset with Singaporeans going to the polls at such a time.

Singapore

IT is "wrong and irresponsible" of the People's Action Party (PAP) to call an election in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and putting Singaporeans' lives at risk, said Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock as he called for a national debate on the ruling party's handling of the crisis.

In response to Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing's criticism that the opposition was not prepared to handle the crisis, Dr Tan said: "Chan Chun Sing can bring along the health minister. And I will go along with Paul. Then we go on national TV and debate this, see whether the opposition is as good, or if not even better, than the way they managed the Covid-19."

He was referring to the Singapore Democratic Party's chairman Paul Tambyah, who is an infectious diseases specialist. On Saturday, Mr Chan said that proposals to help the country tide through the pandemic were "glaringly missing" from the manifestos of various opposition parties.

Dr Tan said: "Remember, all solutions don't only come from one source. The best solution will come when everybody contributes and share your ideas, then you get the best outcome."

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He reiterated that he had disagreed at the outset with Singaporeans going to the polls at such a time.

"This is an irresponsible act of the government, knowing full well (the possible consequences)... If they really consider that the election is safe, they shouldn't have all these social distancing rules and so on. You are putting all at risk and I'm really worried," he said.

Dr Tan and PSP's Nee Soon candidates - Bradley Bowyer, Kala Manickam, Sri Nallakaruppan, Damien Tay and Taufik Supan - covered various coffeeshops around Khatib and Nee Soon South on Sunday. They were accompanied by Lee Hsien Yang, the estranged younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The team also ran into their PAP opponents Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Carrie Tan at separate points, drawing intense cheers from supporters from both camps, as well as bystanders.

Alternating shouts of "PAP!" and "Tan Cheng Bock!" resounded, with many pumping their fists into the air.

Referring to the challenges with crowd management during such situations, Dr Tan said: "When there's an election, (its) very difficult to say, you stand here, you stand there, because of the spirit and the determination to see who is talking. This is wrong and irresponsible. I only pray we all don't get sick. This shouldn't have happened."

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