On Wednesday (24 June), Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Dr Tan Cheng Bock noted that the National Environment Agency (NEA) told the party it is withdrawing its warning to the party over an incident on Sunday (21 June) when a member of the public complained that a few PSP members had allegedly violated safe distancing measures during a walkabout.
Before the party’s visit to Block 358 Bukit Batok Street 31, a member of public had complained that more than five party members had gathered at a coffee shop. A man who identified himself as an NEA officer approached the group before taking down the details of the five politicians as well as one reporter who was covering the walkabout.
The man actually turned out to be a community volunteer with the agency who has been trained as an SG Clean Ambassador, said the NEA in a statement following the incident on Sunday.
The NEA noted in the statement that it is “looking into the circumstances of the case, including if there was a violation of safe distancing measures as reported”, adding that as of now “no fine will be imposed on PSP with regard to the reported breach of safe distancing regulations on June 21, 2020”.
During a press conference on Tuesday (23 June), Dr Tan was asked for his comment on the incident and how the party will be conducting its walkabouts. He stated that the NEA told the party that it had withdrawn its warning, before commenting that the incident highlights the irresponsibility of holding a General Election right now amid a global pandemic.
He said, “Actually NEA has already told us that they will withdraw the so-called wrongdoing that we did, but I want to let you know that this particular incident highlights an important aspect of COVID-19. Frankly speaking, I think it’s very irresponsible to hold a General Election at this time. We must always consider the people first, but unfortunately, politics has overtaken all these considerations.”
“I’m saying this not because I fear the General Elections. I have fought seven elections, I am not worried about the fight. But my priority is with the people and WHO has already warned us of the coming dangerous spikes that could occur,” Dr Tan stressed, adding that it is “not wise” for an election to be held now.
“We are talking about small confined space where during an election, everybody has to vote and whatever measures you take, like this current five person restriction and so on…I wonder how they are actually going to get this implemented properly,” he remarked.