Things got really heated between food delivery riders and member of parliament Ang Wei Neng last night at a Meet-The-People session in Jurong.
Food couriers pushing for the government to lift its footpath e-scooter ban erupted in anger at the 52-year-old Jurong representative’s meeting, with one man in particular confronting Ang and accusing him and the government of demonizing delivery riders and slow-walking funds meant to help.
“Take back the law, yes or no? … Can you give us the S$7 million? Can you give us on the spot – the processing, everything?” the unidentified man says at the start of the 5-minute clip as other riders clap in support. At least 50 people attended the meeting.
On Friday, the government announced a S$7 million (US$5.1 million) fund to help affected riders replace their e-scooters with permissible vehicles such as electric wheelchairs capped at S$1,000 per person. It has met a mixed response, especially as obtaining the money requires going through a process.
The clip has been shared nearly 8,000 times since a Siao Kai published it at 9pm on Facebook. The session, reportedly at Taman Jurong, began at 7:30pm, according to the MP’s website.
“You take back all our freedom. You take our freedom. You see, and now we become [an] enemy. We’re an enemy inside our own country,” the man says about the hate riders have been getting from supporters of the ban, before overreaching a bit to say: “Are you running a communist law now?!”
By that point, others urged him to calm down and take a seat. Another man then quickly chimed in to raise another concern about Singaporeans exposing errant e-scooter riders on social media, tarnishing the image of all personal mobility device users as a result.
Though the man mixed up his laws – he meant to refer to proposed anti-doxxing laws – he said “many of your members of the public were breaching it, by taking photos, videos of all PMD riders. Is it fair for us? This happened just last night at Jurong [and] it was pissing all riders off.”
Anti-doxxing laws are meant to help victims harassed by online vigilantes who share their personal information.
Meanwhile, other riders appealed to the MP that they would not be penalized for flouting the e-scooter ban until Jan. 1, when it comes into force, and would only receive a warning. Those found guilty may be fined S$2,000 (US$1,790) or jailed up to three months.
A woman stood up in front of Ang to say that a rider apparently had his personal information recorded by an officer for defying the ban and was told he’d be fined if caught a second time.
Ang, among the few audible comments he made, told the crowd that he would take note of all their feedback.
A man who appeared to be Ang’s assistant had also tried to appease the crowd by saying that he is on the riders’ side — but nobody seemed to buy it, judging by the silence from the riders.
This article, ‘You take our freedom!’ Jurong MP feels delivery-rider fury over e-scooter ban, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!