Singapore

Tan Cheng Bock proposes TV debate on Covid-19 response

This article is more than 12 months old

He responds to Chan Chun Sing's remarks that the opposition had not spelt out how they would manage the crisis

Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock yesterday proposed a televised debate on the Covid-19 response - with him and Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah facing off against Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Speaking to the media during a walkabout in Nee Soon GRC with the PSP team, he said: "Paul and I, we are prepared to go on TV and debate on this. So if he is prepared, Chan Chun Sing can bring the Health Minister. And I will go along with Paul. Then we go (on) national TV, and we will debate this thing out."

Dr Tan, who is contesting in West Coast GRC, was responding to remarks by Mr Chan that the opposition had thus far left out management of the crisis from their manifestos and discussions.

"I think I read somewhere that he told the media... that we won't be able to help you in Covid-19 management... We will challenge it," said Dr Tan.

He declined to share what plans he would bring up if the debate were to take place.

"No point telling you. Let's have a national debate. We go on television. I think that will settle everything. You all will see whether we have the competency. Whether we have the knowledge of this Covid-19. If (the debate doesn't) take place, then we give you our answer. They (the PAP) must give the response, because we didn't initiate it, they initiated it, we responded that's all."

FACEBOOK POST

Mr Chan, in a Facebook post, said Dr Tan should talk about his plans now.

"Why not present their plans to the voters now on how they intend to help Singapore and Singaporeans get through this most serious health and economic crisis in decades? Am sure voters will want to know before polling day to make a decision," he wrote.

Yesterday, the PSP chief said he and Dr Tambyah, who is contesting Bukit Panjang SMC, are good friends and both experienced in the medical field.

"He is an infectious disease specialist. I'm an old doctor with a lot of knowledge on infection, because during my time infectious disease was very common. So how we managed that time, there's nothing very special but the basic fundamental principles we carried with us. So we can impart all this knowledge to them," said Dr Tan.

Dr Tan yesterday also repeated his criticism on the timing of the general election.

"In the first instance, I already disagreed with holding the election now. This is an irresponsible act of government," he declared.

"If they really consider that the election is safe, I tell you, they shouldn't have all these social distancing rules and so on. You're putting all at risk. And I'm really worried."

Dr Tan added that it has been difficult for parties to maintain safe distancing while on walkabouts. "We try but we can't help it, people just come to you. So you know the situation is going to happen in any election is like this," he said.

GENERAL ELECTION 2020