Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had responded to some of the requests written for the private-hire bus drivers who are facing challenges in the business climate amid the COVID-19 virus crisis, said the Workers’ Party (WP) leader Pritam Singh on Monday (23 March).
Earlier on 17 March, Mr Singh shared on Facebook that some drivers have had their buses repossessed as they defaulted on installment payments, adding that all the affected individuals are Singaporeans, with families to feed.
Several private-hire bus drivers have met him at the Meet-the-People session on 16 March, and raised some suggestions as to how the Government could support them going forward amid the virus outbreak.
“I will be writing to the Ministry of Finance on this and will share my notes with the National Transport Workers Union and the Singapore Tourism Board,” he noted.
Meanwhile, former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) and WP’s politician Gerald Giam also called for the frequency of buses and trains in Singapore to be increased, after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan urged commuters to refrain from talking when using public transport.
“How about increasing the frequency of buses and trains? That will reduce crowding and increase social distance better than not talking, and it is something with the control of MOT and the PTOs,” Mr Giam remarked on Facebook.
Mr Giam added that sticking close to each other in a crowded public transport defeats the social distancing measures that have been rolled out by the Government islandwide.
Following that, Mr Singh in his Facebook on Monday stated that Mr Heng had responded to some of the requests that he wrote on behalf of private-hire bus drivers who are facing challenges in the business climate amid the COVID-19 virus crisis.
“Over the weekend, I appreciated receiving a reply from DPM Heng in response to some requests I wrote on behalf of these drivers. I hope to update you on positive outcomes at a later date,” Mr Singh said.
He also noted that members of Parliament (MPs) have received a notice about a Ministerial statement the Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is making in Parliament on additional support measures for the COVID-19 virus crisis.
“I doubt the Government will share its measures with WP MPs before hand, but I will join the debate with points I have gathered from ground feedback,” he asserted.
He also urged the people to speak to their respective MPs from WP if they are facing any personal or industry-specific matter or problem amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve helped residents with job losses, requests for banks and financial institutions to lend a helping hand, repossession of properties or homes, or asset disputes etc., residents have shared their fears and woes with us, and thankfully in many cases help was rendered,” Mr Singh wrote.