We have learned at least four things from Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Seah Kian Peng, who walked around the neighbourhood on Sunday, touring coffee shops and a wet market.
One, that he has the authority to appoint himself a safe distancing ambassador (SDA).
Two, that he must be a very special breed of SDA – he was not wearing a lanyard with an identification card, which the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has asked members of the public to look out for to verify if someone is a legitimate SDA or Enforcement Officer.
Three, that he was instead wearing what looked like a People’s Action Party (PAP) party T-shirt, with blue and red trimmings that match the colours used by both the PAP and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). Seah is the Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise and FairPrice.
Four, we also learned that Seah uploaded a picture of himself with a market vendor on his Facebook and added the hashtag “#walkabout”.
So if we add all these things up and we still believe that the MP was not embarking on a Sunday MP walkabout, then we must be feeble of mind.
Seah’s walkabout came despite the fact that the PAP announced on April 13 that it would suspend all on-the-ground initiatives, including market visits and home visits.
The announcement came one day after another PAP MP Chia Shi-Lu drew intense criticism for distributing face masks to hawkers at Alexandra Village Food Centre.
Chia, a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, was accompanied by Colonel Eric Chua, director of the SGSecure Programme Office and seen as a potential PAP candidate for the upcoming general election.
What are we to make of the actions of the PAP MPs?
It clearly shows that they put party before people, party before country, that their minds are more focused on fighting the elections than fighting a pandemic.
Singaporeans are asked to stay home, otherwise there will be more deaths. Singaporeans who flout the circuit breaker measures have been penalised heavily.
And yet the MPs themselves make a mockery of the circuit breaker measures. Seah’s Sunday MP walkabout also flouts the PAP directive to suspend all on-the-ground initiatives.
We should not at all be surprised.
When the electoral boundaries report was released back on March 13, it was a sure sign that the government was prepared to call a general election even amidst the pandemic. In subsequent interviews, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did not rule out a pandemic election, saying the government needed “the strongest team and mandate” to battle the crisis.
So if we have a government who has no qualms about politicising a pandemic, we can only expect the MPs to follow suit and toe the party line.
During this difficult time for Singapore, it is a crying shame that the PAP stands for Politicising A Pandemic.