National Solidarity Party (NSP) took to Facebook yesterday (25 March 2020) to respond to Today Online article titled, “39,000 Covid-19 tests done so far, with cases set to rise in coming weeks: Gan” published online 25 March 2020 and Straits Times (ST) article titled, “Hospital facing severe bed crunch take unusual steps” published on 8 Jan 2014.
In that first opinion piece on Today, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the number of COVID-19 cases would continue to rise as some of the 200,000 or so Singaporeans who are overseas return home from around the world.
Referring to this, the NSP posted on Facebook saying, “With the expectation of 200,000 Singaporeans and PRs returning to Singapore within the next few weeks, we are bracing for a surge in confirmed infected cases. Our healthcare facilities and resources face the danger of collapsing.”
The NSP analogised the COVID-19 outbreak as a war. They urged that all resources must be optimised in order to win the war.
The party said, “We are on war footing now and we should channel ALL our resources to win this fight at all cost! Because if we do not, we will lose it all.”
In addition, the NSP urged the PAP government to do the right thing in this situation. It noted that insisting on holding the next General Elections (GE) in the midst of the COVID-19, the “deadliest virus we have seen since SARS”, is “morally wrong”.
Back in 2014, Singapore’s public hospitals took unusual steps by housing SARS patients in tents and corridors, or sent to other hospitals in order to contain the outbreak.
The party further said in its post, that it disagreed with Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean’s statement that it is unconstitutional to delay the GE in order to win the war against COVID-19.
The party continued, “PAP holds overwhelming majority in the Parliament. They have the power to introduce bills and amendments to the Constitution such as the Constitutional amendments passed in November 2016, to reserve the elected presidency for candidates of a particular racial group if there had not been a president from the group for the five most recent presidential terms.”
“This effectively eliminated the chances of individuals whom expressed their desire to contest for the Presidency Election such as Dr. Tan Cheng Bock,” noted NSP.
NSP then quoted PM Lee as saying: “Reserving the elected presidency for minority candidates from time to time is likely to have a political cost in the short term, but the move was a necessary safeguard for the country’s long-term good.”
The NSP emphasized that holding the General Elections in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak is not a democracy at all.
They said, “For the safety of ALL Singaporeans, hold the General Elections until the crisis is over. Holding the voters hostage in fear of COVID-19 is not democracy at all.”
The President can proclaim an emergency
Separately, Singaporeans First party Secretary-General Tan See Jay posted on Facebook today (26 March) about the Proclamation of Emergency in Singapore’s constitution and echoed the call for delaying the general elections.
He quoted, “Proclamation of Emergency, 150.—(1) If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security or economic life of Singapore is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.”
Referring to this, the senior politician said, “Covid-19 threatens our economic life especially when it drags on till April 2021 and qualifies as reason to declare a state of emergency and postpone the elections.”
He reiterated a previous post he made last week, saying “this is what a responsible government should do rather than hold an election and endanger the lives of Singaporeans”.