Dear Lawrence Wong,
With reference to your Parliament speech on Monday, 3rd Feb 2020, you mentioned [0:20-0:26]: “No stockpile is sufficient if we do not use the supply judiciously”
You also mentioned [0:44 – 1:02]: “At the same time, with virus spreading to countries all over the World, there is now a global scramble for masks. Producers around the world are struggling to keep pace with the demand, and some places like Taiwan had even ban the export of masks.”
Banning export of masks might be a little overboard, however, having export control would be reasonable, isn’t it?
You might also like to take note that in just 2 separate verifiable events:
- 200 Cartons of Masks (72,000 pieces) Exported from Singapore on 2nd Day of CNY
- ‘Procurement of 160,000 masks from Singapore‘
At least a quarter millions of masks were exported out of Singapore! How many other such events there were, and their respective quantities, I do not have the numbers.
Given the fact that a quarter-million of masks had been exported in 2 single events, it is only fair and valid to raise the concern that the majority of your so-called 5 million masks released from National Stockpile to the retailers could have simply ended up being exported out of Singapore instead.
I sincerely hope that you have the number to prove otherwise. Unfortunately, without export control, there is no way for you to produce any meaningful numbers to rebut this concern.
Therefore, paraphrasing your own words above, I am sure you will also agree that: “No stockpile is sufficient if we do not control the export judiciously”
With the recent renewed call from China for masks donation, I am certain many more such exports of masks are underway, thus, your immediate action is required.
As a caring society such as Singapore, I am certain that many Singaporeans are fully supportive of helping China; however, it CANNOT be undertaken indiscriminately (as highlighted in the above article), and should be performed in a planned and controlled manner.
Worst, without proper government-to-government collaboration, any donations would neither be timely nor fairly distributed, as was observed from the various China Red Cross incidents.
In support of China, I am certain many Singaporeans are willing to donate their 4 free masks in exchange for your IMMEDIATE ACTION on the export control.
In the video [1:17 – 1:56], you mentioned:
“Because of the rapid consumption rate that we had seen earlier and the potential threat to our supply lines, we decided to change the method of distribution of masks from our National Stockpile. And that is why, firstly, we slowed our supply of masks to retailers and prioritised the masks for essential services, namely our frontline healthcare workers. Secondly, for the general public, we decided to release masks directly from the stockpile to households so that every family would have access to a mask should someone in the family fall sick and need to use one to see a doctor.”
In [2:30 – 2:42] of your Parliament speech, you had also mentioned how great “GovTech” is.
Therefore, I am sure there would be no issue for GovTech to come up with a system where Singaporeans, rather than going to retailers every few hours to check for stocks, could place a purchase indent request to buy their masks directly from our ‘National Stockpile‘, at close to cost price, collectable via NTUC fairprice, SingPost, etc. where the limit on the quantity could be controlled by you.
This not only serves the original purposes of distributing to every household, it also allows Singaporeans to donate the masks by not indenting it. On top of that, it saved Singaporeans a lot of valuable time and minimised all the frustrations.
Apart from that, this would help to alleviate our NSFs from those mundane tasks of packing and to focus on other more important national defence related areas.
As a caring society, such as Singapore, I am very certain that many Singaporeans are willing to donate the four free masks that the Government had allocated to them, in return for your immediate actions on the export control as well as providing an online purchase indent system.
In summary, in order to ensure public peace and order and not to create panic, I am sure you will agree that:
- Implement export control of Masks and related medical equipment are prudent and necessary
- Implement a system for Singaporeans to place a purchase indent to buy their masks directly from the ‘National Stockpile‘, at close to cost price, collectable via NTUC fairprice, SingPost, etc. is no doubt a very simple task for GovTech to implement within a week or so
- Call for Singaporeans to donate their 4 masks to Wuhan in return for the above actions from the Government, would be both humane and fair
Since the above would enhance public confidence, ensure a suitable supply of masks, proper allocation of masks and prevent profiteering, as well as making Singapore a more humane and caring society, I am very certain that you would be more eager than any Singaporeans to push the above-suggested plans through immediately.
Kindly allow me to reiterate my point by paraphrasing yours:
“Let me reiterate once again, that there are sufficient supply of masks in Singapore, as long as export are controlled responsibly. So let us all do our part to ensure the sustainability of our masks stockpile, so that our frontline healthcare workers will have the necessary supplies to carry out their work.”
Thanks and looking forward to your announcement on the above soon. Singaporeans, as well as all Chinese Nationals, are all getting in line, getting ready to thank you for your immediate action on this.
Video of Mr Wong’s Parliamentary speech
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