SINGAPORE — Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min has called out a “member of an opposition party” who turned up at his dialogue with some 300 food delivery riders on Tuesday (12 November) night for his “irresponsible and abhorrent” actions.
“Most people who came down today had genuine reasons to be there – except for a member of an opposition party who came to politicise the issue and stoke the emotions of those present,” said Dr Lam, the Member of Parliament for Sengkang West, in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning.
The session at Anchorvale Community Club came following his announcement in Parliament last week that e-scooters would be banned from footpaths with effect from 5 November – a move that has riled many food delivery riders who rely on e-scooters for their work.
While Dr Lam did not refer to any particular opposition party member, Yahoo News Singapore spotted People’s Power Party secretary-general Goh Meng Seng in attendance at the dialogue. Goh was observed behaving aggressively and shouting during the 90-minute dialogue. He later said that he had suggested a licensing regime for e-scooter users and that Dr Lam had said the idea would be of no use.
Dr Lam said in his post, “Such actions are irresponsible and abhorrent. They do not benefit anyone, and distracted us from the main objective of giving the PMD riding community support during this period and helping them to understand that there is help available for them.”
He also emphasised that there is “no perfect solution” to the current situation and that the ban was meant to “restore safety for majority of Singaporeans” who use footpaths.
In a Facebook post of his own, Goh said he had “gatecrashed” two meet-the-people sessions on Tuesday night – Dr Lam’s and that of Bishan Toa Payoh GRC MP Chee Hong Tat – due to the “persistent invitation by some FB friends”.
He said he arrived at Dr Lam’s session just as the latter was explaining the government’s decision to impose the footpath ban. Goh said he listened to Dr Lam “for 10 minutes” before deciding to respond.
“I said there is no ‘Ideal Situation’ in this world. We have car accidents on the road everyday but do we ban all the vehicles on the road? There was an uproar,” said Goh in his post.
He claimed he then waited for Dr Lam to finish responding to all other questions before trying to raise a final one of his own but was refused.
“I asked all the riders at the dialogue whether they want me to ask the question? There was a resounding YES,” said Goh, adding that he told Dr Lam the move to get food delivery riders to switch from e-scooters to power assisted bicycles would only put them at higher risk of injury from cars.
He claimed that this line of inquiry drew an “uproar from those present”.
Goh also refuted a report that he had “heckled” Dr Lam.
“I didn't "Heckle" Dr Lam Pin Min. He is Minister of State for goodness sake! Not some weaklings of some sort! I didn't use "derisory" words against him at all!,” said Goh in his post.
“If asking questions that KO a Minister could be regarded as ‘heckling’, then so be it,” he added.