The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Paul Tambyah’s allegations of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s advisory to employers about testing migrant workers for the COVID-19 were “baseless and false”, said the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s candidate Lawrence Wong on Sunday (5 July).

During the NUSS Pre-General Election Forum 2020 on 3 July, Dr Tambyah spoke of the MOM’s advisory on testing migrant workers for the virus that warned employers not to send their workers – who are well – for the COVID-19 testing.

He claimed that the advisory was issued by MOM in February after a cluster of COVID-19 cases emerged at the Seletar Aerospace Park, which has led many employers wanting to send their workers to get tested for the virus.

“They actively discouraged the testing. And then in March, you know, all hell broke loose,” said Dr Tambyah.

Following that, Mr Wong – who co-chairs the Multi-Ministry COVID-19 task force with PAP member Gan Kim Yong – was asked during his interview with reporters at the PAP’s Woodgrove branch about Dr Tambyah’s remarks.

“These are baseless and false allegations,” he replied.

Mr Wong reiterated that the Multi-Ministry task force has always relied on scientific evidence and the advice of medical experts in coming up with decisions.

“They are an integral part of the team, we involve them in all our deliberations, and every time Mr Gan Kim Yong and I hold the press conferences we have the director of medical services (Associate Professor Kenneth Mak) with us,” he said.

Mr Wong also clarified that MOM did not issue the advisory “unilaterally” but it was the doctors and medical experts who had requested MOM to put out the advisory to employers.

“I fully respect Professor Tambyah as a leading expert in his field, but it is very disappointing that he has deliberately chosen to distort the facts just to try and score some political points,” he added.

Netizens supported SDP’s Paul Tambyah’s remarks by citing the ST’s report on the advisory

Meanwhile, a handful of netizens penned under the comment section of the Channels News Asia’s Facebook post – which covered the media interview – citing the Straits Times’ report that covered MOM’s previous advisory to employers to support Dr Tambyah’s remarks.

While others commented that Mr Wong has yet to address why MOM had threatened to revoke employers’ privileges if they send their workers for testing.


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