PAP Says It’s Disappointed With SDP Chairman Paul Tambyah, WP Chief Pritam Singh’s Question Is Baffling
Some may have thought that the “10 million population” issue was done and dusted, after many Government sources said that it was NOT planning for a population of 10 million.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), whose chief Chee Soon Juan asked the question during a TV debate on Wednesday (1 Jul), claimed victory in fulfilling one of its campaign tenets after extracting an assurance from Singapore’s ruling party that it would not increase the population to 10 million.
This was decried by the People’s Action Party (PAP) on Thursday (2 Jul), calling for Dr Chee to apologise for misleading Singaporeans.
Then on Friday (3 Jul), the PAP slammed not just Dr Chee and the SDP, but SDP chairman Paul Tambyah and Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh too.
PAP disappointed in Dr Chee, SDP
In a press release on its website on Friday (3 Jul), the PAP said it was “disappointed” that Dr Chee and his party has refused to apologise, as it called for, to Singaporeans for “misleading them”.
Instead, it said, Dr Chee and SDP has “dug their heels in” and “repeated their falsehoods” about the key plank of their election campaign.
This possibly refers to how the SDP claimed it had accomplished their “One No” tenet.
Dr Chee will never change, said PAP
The PAP then launched what may be construed as an attack on Dr Chee’s personality.
Saying that it was “disappointed but not surprised”, the party said it knew that,
Dr Chee has not changed, cannot change, and will never change.
Of course, that implies that Dr Chee has something about him that needs to change. Though many may agree with that, it’s still an attack on Dr Chee.
The statement then used the analogy of someone who is accused of beating his spouse, basically substituting the “10 million population” issue with a domestic crime.
PAP also disappointed in Dr Tambyah
The statement then turned its attention to SDP chairman Paul Tambyah, who is running as a candidate in Bukit Panjang Single-Member Constituency (SMC).
The infectious diseases specialist, who will also be the first Singaporean to be president of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, stood by his party’s questioning of the PAP on the “10 million population” issue.
According to The Straits Times, Dr Tambyah said during a walkabout on Friday (3 Jul) that the PAP had “fed this ambiguity” for awhile, and now finally they have said unequivocally that this is not so.
In response, the PAP said it was also disappointed in Dr Tambyah, as well as surprised, that he has joined Dr Chee in the “charade”.
That’s because, it added,
We thought he was a better man.
WP’s Pritam Singh says Govt could have addressed issue earlier
After it was done with the SDP, the statement then set its sights on the WP.
At a walkabout in Sengkang on Friday (3 Jul), WP chief Pritam Singh was asked about the “10 million population” controversy, and he replied that the Government could have been clearer on its position on the “10 million population” before the saga erupted,
Why can’t these things actually come up well before the election?
Mr Pritam also said that ministers in the past have “made allusions to how we possibly could have more, a larger population size”, and most reasonable people would think there is room for fair comment about the actual population size Singapore is aiming towards.
PAP says Pritam’s remarks are baffling
To that, the PAP statement said that Mr Pritam was “opportunistically” jumping into the fray.
It’s “baffling” that Mr Pritam could have asked why the Government didn’t say anything about the “10 million population” issue earlier, said the statement
That’s because the Government did say something about it in 2018, during the Committee of Supply debate.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo had said that Singapore’s population would be “significantly below” 6.9 million by 2030. See the transcript of her speech here.
Implying that Mr Pritam didn’t do his homework, the PAP asked since Mrs Teo has mentioned this before, why he didn’t seem to know about it,
Was the Leader of the Opposition not scrutinising the Minister’s statements?
Here’s the PAP’s full statement for your perusal:
Image courtesy of PAP
Population saga still has some life in it
Looks like this “10 million population” saga has some life in it yet.
Do you think the PAP’s criticisms of the SDP and WP are valid?
If so, will the opposition parties respond with more? We’ll await further updates.