The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock on Sunday (5 July) called for People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Chan Chun Sing to engage in a televised debate on the competency of the alternative parties in handling the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking to the media during a walkabout in Nee Soon GRC earlier today, Dr Tan noted that he is prepared to go live on TV alongside Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Dr Paul Tambyah to debate with Mr Chan – and also former Health Minister Gan Kim Yong – to see whether the alternative parties are as good or perhaps better than the PAP in dealing with the COVID-19 situation.
“I read somewhere that he [Mr Chan] has told the media – or I don’t know where he made his speech – telling that we won’t be able to help in COVID-19 management,” he said.
“We will challenge it. So I think we are prepared, Paul and I, we are prepared to go on TV and debate on this. So if he’s prepared, Chan Chun Sing can bring the health minister… and we will debate this thing out, see whether the opposition is as good or if not even better than the way they managed COVID-19.”
When asked by the media to share some of his points should there be a debate, Dr Tan refused to reveal anything, saying that they will debate it in the House.
“I and Paul, we will take on Chan Chun Sing and the health minister. I think that will settle everything. You all will see whether we have the competency, whether we have the knowledge of this COVID-19… We will get all the answers in an open debate,” he added.
Besides that, Dr Tan also spoke highly of Dr Tambyah’s experience in the medical field, adding that they have been good friends for a long time.
“He is an infectious disease specialist. I’m an old doctor with a lot of knowledge on infection, because during my time, infectious disease was very common. So how we managed that time, there’s nothing very special but the basic fundamental principles we carried with us. So we can impart all these knowledge to them,” he remarked.
Dr Tan, who was the Ayer Rajah MP for 26 years under the PAP and is now leading the PSP team to contest West Coast GRC, was responding to Mr Chan’s remark on Saturday (4 July), in which the former Trade and Industry Minister noted that the proposals or suggestions on how to get through the pandemic were “glaringly missing” in the manifestos of alternatives parties.
“I went through in detail the manifestos of the various parties and the many things that have been said… There is one part glaringly missing: How are we going to get through this crisis,” said Mr Chan, adding that every party, including the PAP, must have the plans to share with the voters on how to get through this situation as the election is “probably conducted in the most challenging time in our history”.
Meanwhile, during the webcast for Sengkang GRC yesterday, the Secretary-General of PAP Lee Hsien Loong also stated that the alternatives parties have no plans to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.