After Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Dr Lee Bee Wah was bombarded by netizens for wanting to disallow cat feeders to leave food unattended for two hours, Law and Foreign Minister K Shanmugam defended her on this issue.
In his Facebook post published on Saturday (16 February), Mr Shanmugam said that “some genuine commentators seem to have misunderstood what Dr Lee said”.
As someone who supports responsible cat feeding in his area, the Law and Home Affairs minister wrote that the action of irresponsible feeders is in fact the cause of hygiene problem for residents.
“Animal activist know that food sources are a root cause of pest problems. That was precisely the issue Dr Lee raised – food left out for two-hours without supervision end up attracting these pests in Nee Soon South,” he explained.
Last Wednesday (13 February), Dr Lee shared her full speech in Parliament on her Facebook page where she said that she wanted the Agri-Food and Veterinary (AVA) to disallow cat feeders to leave food unattended for two hours in areas that have rat problem. Upon reading her post, netizens slammed her and said that rat infestation occurred due to the poor hygiene in the area, and not due to cat feeders.
In his post, Mr Shanmugam also noted that people think that Dr Lee had asked for a complete stop to the two-hour feeding, but that’s not true. She is only requesting for it to be relooked where there were specific local problems.
In the last decade, the minister said that animal rights causes in Singapore has grown from strength to strength and there has been many positive rule changes, which he has personally championed.
However, he also believes that there’s a “need to strike a balance between a cause we passionately believe in, and the sentiments of residents, who have face disamenities”.
Mr Shanmugam stressed that he has always given priority to residents’ concerns, while still educating them on animal welfare and working to advance the cause of animal welfare.
“We need the support of residents, if we want to be effective in protecting wildlife. Such support cannot come from ignoring residents’ views, or trying to shut up MPs who speak about residents’ concerns. Nor does it do public discourse any favour to deliberately twist what an MP says, and then use straw man arguments to say she is wrong,” he concluded.
After sharing his post, almost 200 comments were received, and some netizens revealed that they support Mr Shanmugam’s stand but they still think that cat feeders are not the cause of rat infestation, and they were disappointed with the way Dr Lee presented her views and concerns.
However, a bunch of netizens do agree with Dr Lee’s point and said irresponsible cat feeders are indeed causing problems to others.