Writer, Tan Meng Wah has provided a blow by blow account of the government’s hiccups and shortfalls in relation to their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Tan observes, right from the start, the government may have already made the misguided decision to politicise the virus by creating a task force with key 4G political leaders instead of medical professionals.
To compound matters, the 4G politicians do not have the requisite experience in states craft to deal with an emergency such as this one. So we ended up with a group of inexperienced leaders without medical expertise to lead the nation in unprecedented times of global virus outbreak which in turn led to a sudden spike of cases which we are continuing to battle.
Tan elaborated on how the face mask policy changed from from “no need” to “no longer discourage” and finally to “mandatory” in just three months or so — a procrastination with colossal consequences.
Not only have the 4G leaders been criticised by other members of the establishment as “dropping the ball“, they are now strenuously attempting to absolve themselves of any liability. You have Speaker of Parliament, Tan Chuan Jin venturing to split hairs by trying to differentiate between bad living conditions and people living in close quarters.
Then you have Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo saying that she has not “come across one single migrant worker himself that had demanded an apology,” Not to mention the repeated endeavours on the part of several key members of the government (such as Lawrence Wong) to stress the somewhat artificial divide between migrant worker infections and community spreads.
Looking at the above, there does not appear to be an iota of ownership on the mishaps they may have been responsible for. Where is the accountability? Especially when they are paid among the highest in the world – far higher than their counterparts in other countries! Along with that salary should come an increased sense of responsibility.
However, instead of taking it on the chin and apologising, it is excuses and justifications galore.
Is this leadership?
Minister for National Development and co-chair of the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 , Lawrence Wong has said that the government will “comprehensively review “the COVID-19 pandemic and its overall response to it when “the timing is right”. When will the timing be right and who determines the timing? If the public responses of those in charge are not showing any signs of ownership at this stage, should these same people be in charge of when such a review will be held and how it should be convened?
Even if we cannot yet set a date for such a review, we should at least put the procedure in place. Those in charge of such a review should be made up of medical professionals with no affiliation to government. For it to be transparent, it has to be completely public.
And for it to be fit for purpose, it has to be held before any general election.