Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing (Chan) may have added another skill to his portfolio – that of spin-doctor.
Chan flexed his public relations skill when asked about the incident of an 83-year-old passenger of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship testing positive for COVID-19.
Instead of expressing regret suitably, as netizens would have expected, Chan said that the incident was “not unexpected” as the Government had anticipated the possibility of such an incident happening and that they have subsequently put in place the necessary protocols.
Chan’s remarks come across as callous and insensitive. After all, if the Government had anticipated the possibility of this, why did the Government allow it in the first place? Does this not breach the trust that people may have in the Government where their safety is concerned?
At the end of the day, everybody makes mistakes and the Government is no exception. The difference, however, is how one reacts to such oversights. If an error has been made, apologise sincerely and we can move forward! Don’t try and make it seem like the oversight was always part of the plan! Not only is this disingenuous, but it also causes mistrust and unnecessary speculation!
However, instead of acknowledging a potential oversight on the part of the Government, Chan seems to be suggesting that this was all part of the plan!
Chan further added that it is “precisely because we (the Government) were concerned that such things may happen, we have put in place the necessary protocols”
Now, however, it has been revealed that the 83-year-old man apparently does not have COVID-19 after all. This toing and froing does not put the Government’s supposed protocols in good stead.
While it is certainly a relief for the man in question plus the rest of the passengers and crew that have come into contact with him, this does not breed confidence in the testing mechanisms that the Government has put in place. How can we trust a test that does not appear accurate?
With a seemingly unreliable test, should we resume activities like what Chan had earlier suggested?
Chan had tried to big up the Government’s handling of the matter by saying:
“With the protocols that have been put in place, the public can be assured that such incidents can be managed properly.”
Now that it is clear that the protocols are seemingly unreliable, how will Chan spin this new development?