In line with Mediacorp’s broadcast of speeches by various ministers in relation to post-COVID Singapore, Minister for National Development and co chair for the multi ministry task force, Lawrence Wong has on Tuesday (9 June), duly delivered his speech.
In reviewing Wong’s speech, it is important to note that the broadcast of these speeches by Mediacorp have been criticised for potentially being election campaigns disguised as COVID-19 speeches given the upcoming general elections and the suspension of campaign activities due to the COVID-19 situation.
The contents of Wong’s speech may well lend credence to that speculation given that he did not say anything groundbreaking so as to warrant a prime time broadcast slot.
Wouldn’t a video clip on YouTube or a Facebook post suffice?
Wong opened his televised speech with generic information on the impact COVID-19 has had globally.
He then proceeded to praise his government’s handling of the crisis by saying: “we’ve been going all out to control the spread of the virus, and to ensure that our healthcare system is able to care for all who are infected…… Working together we’ve stabilised the situation in the migrant worker dormitories. We’ve brought down community cases significantly. We’ve protected our seniors, and kept our fatality rates low.”
No mention of the government’s inaction back in February where migrant worker dormitory infections were first made public. With this in mind, is it really accurate for Wong to assert that the government has gone all out to control the spread of the virus?
With the government facing criticism for its flip flopping in relation to whether or not to wear masks, could this have put citizens at unnecessary risk?
In this context, is it really right for Wong to claim that seniors have been protected?
Wong goes on to remind the public to “stay disciplined and vigilant….and to practise social responsibility in upholding good personal hygiene and safe distancing measures – wash our hands regularly, wear a mask wherever we go, avoid big gatherings and crowded places……..”
He added, “Conversely, if we are lax in our personal precautions, new cases and new clusters will multiply quickly, and despite our best efforts to test and trace, we might end up in another circuit breaker down the road. So please cooperate with the restrictions, and keep everyone safe.”
How do these exhortations gel with the government pressing ahead with the general elections? Isn’t there a complete conflict? Having a general election at this time of pandemic does not seem socially responsible and could affect social distancing measures.
Having listened to Wong’s speech, it doesn’t seem like he said anything that would warrant a televised slot at prime time?
The question that remains is why these speeches are televised at a time where the general elections are imminent.