Kala Manickam, one of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) candidates for Nee Soon GRC in last year’s general election, has exited the party.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (12 January), Ms Kala said that her party membership “lapsed with effect” from 31 December.
She said that she had “noticed several glaring lapses and shortcomings” in the party since the 2020 election.
“I duly and dutifully highlighted these to the management only to see my feedback being ignored time-and-time again.
“The final straw was when I highlighted the misinformation a prominent fellow party member made on Covid-19. Once again, my feedback was ignored,” Ms Kala alleged.
She added that she is “not aware of any action taken against the Party member”.
Ms Kala also criticised PSP for its purported failure “to publicly clarify its position on Covid-19 relating to matter like vaccinations, masking-up, safe-distancing, opening-up the economy, etc”.
PSP’s assistant secretary-general Francis Yuen told Channel 8 that the party “will not further comment on why she terminated her membership”.
Mr Yuen added that Ms Kala’s departure from PSP is unrelated to party member Brad Bowyer’s remarks on 19 December, in which Mr Bowyer questioned the need to wear masks and for social distancing measures to continue, which resulted in Ms Kala rebuking him for his “irresponsible” comments.
Mr Bowyer, who was one of Ms Kala’s running mates in the general election last year, also voiced his distrust in the COVID-19 vaccines.
Ms Kala criticised Mr Bowyer for making such remarks, saying: “Being a COVID-19 survivor, I am extremely disturbed by the misinformation and fear you are spreading.”
Ms Kala told The Straits Times that she was tested positive for the coronavirus on 27 August last year, just a day after her mother was also tested positive for COVID-19.
Ms Kala was the approved caregiver for her mother during her 14-day quarantine after she returned to Singapore from India on 14 August.
She said that Government measures such as making wearing masks mandatory, putting in place social distancing regulations and rolling out a calibrated reopening of the economy are moves that are crucial in protecting the community.
“In the midst of a public health pandemic, we should not spread conspiracy theories on vaccines, like what you are doing here,” she chided Mr Bowyer.
“We have to follow the lead of the Government and health professionals to keep our people safe. Surely the economy cannot be more important than human beings,” she added.
Mr Bowyer questioned why Singapore is not able to enter Phase Three of its reopening earlier than 28 December, seeing how there have been “virtually no new cases in the community for months”.
He went on to question the Government for “pushing experimental vaccines with known side effects”, pointing out that the threat for the coronavirus is “virtually zero” and the disease does not require “serious treatment”.
Mr Bowyer said that the Government should instead promote “healthy lifestyle, exercising in the sun, nutrition and other natural immune-system-boosting activities” to safeguard people from COVID-19 and other future viruses.
Ms Kala responded: “I am alarmed at your recent posts on the topic because I stood with you as a candidate in Nee Soon GRC… I believe the Party has to distance itself from your dangerous opinions.”
Mr Bowyer later said that the questions he raised in his earlier post were “fair” and it had been “grossly mischaracterized and taken out of the context”.
“Secondly I feel the questions I had posed were fair and were asking for hard evidence and justifications for the current and continued policy landscape,” he added.
Mr Bowyer went on to clarify that the views he makes online are his own and that he is “extremely glad” to be part of PSP as it allows its members to have their own voice on social media.
He believes that it is “important to have a proper discourse about such issues in the public domain even if they are sometimes difficult conversations to have”.
The PSP member also apologised to Ms Kala for feeling the way she did and wished her well ,given that she was tested positive for COVID-19 a few months ago.
“I will continue to post on topics I feel we need to discuss and as I always do will do so within the guidelines set by the party and adjust if necessary or asked to from time to time as I am still learning all the subtle nuances of being a political figure in Singapore,” he concluded.
A spokesperson from Facebook told TOC in response to Mr Bowyer’s claim that Facebook removed his post without notifying him: “We do not allow people to share misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts. This includes false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects of vaccines.”