The “big fish” who profited off the women brought in to work at KTVs should be punished as well, argued social commentator Raj Singh.
In a video on his Facebook page on Thursday (15 July), Mr Singh called into question the authorities role in the KTV COVID-19 clusters as well as politicians response to the matter.
Starting off the video by harking back to last year when then-Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing made a comment about panic buyers in Singapore, Mr Singh questioned the absence of comments from politicians this time around with regard to the KTV clusters.
He said, “Where is Singapore’s favourite educated Ah Beng? Last year you say the supermarket aunty caused Singapore to lose face. This year the KTV uncle how? No sound, no picture anymore ah?”
“Last year some of the MPs go and hang out at the supermarkets to prevent panic buying,” he explained, adding: “This year the KTV saga, where are you going to hang out and what panic are you going to solve?”
On Thursday, the MOH reported 33 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections linked to the KTV cluster, bringing the total up to 88. This is a massive spike from Monday with just 12 cases.
The MOH has identified a Vietnamese short-term pass holder as the first case linked to the group, designating the woman as the “index case”. She was identified as part of a group of Vietnamese social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges.
In his video, Mr Singh acknowledged that while some action would be taken against the women, “they are not the ones that are wrong”.
He explained: “We say we are a first world country, yet we have young girls coming here being groped by dirty, drunken old man in a middle of a pandemic just because our SGD has some value. What kind of animals do we have?”
He then questioned how KTVs were awarded licenses to operate as F&B outlets.
We note that in August last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced a pilot programme for nightlife establishments to be allowed to reopen with COVID-19 safety measures.
The ministries added that nightlife establishments not under the pilot programme could opt to “pivot to other permission activities” if they wanted to operate. They would also have to adhere to the COVID-19 measures.
However, the pilot programme was actually delayed in January 2021 until further notice, amidst a rise in community cases. Nonetheless, nightlife establishments operating as F&B outlets were allowed to continue operating.
Mr Singh asked in his video: “Now the KTVs, KTVs got F&B license, how? Air fryer enough is it? Might as well just say toaster or use butter, sugar, bread no need to toast also, can ah?
“What kind of checks and approvals were done?”
Mr Singh went on to say that while the women would be punished, “the people who actually really profited from the girls, directly or indirectly” should be punished as well.
“The ones who brought them in, the ones who use them, the ones who made money off of them.
“Unfortunately they will still be going out there driving around in their big cars, and the next batch of girls will come in,” he lamented.
He questioned why nothing has been about this issue so far, saying: “What a first world country we have. All this happening under our noses for years. Well, not really under our noses lah. Everybody knows about it. It’s a[n] open dirty little secret.”
Moving on to the politicians, Mr Singh questioned how they would be able to face their counterparts abroad when asked about the KTV saga.
He asked: “And next time dear politicians when you meet your overseas counterparts, what kind of face will you have when they ask you this question about the KTV saga? How will you hold your head up?”
He concluded the video by urging them to “do what’s right”.