'Murmurs on the ground' about 4G leaders' performance leaving 'more to be desired' not surprising: Pritam Singh

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read
Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh speaking with a hawker during a party walkabout in Bedok North on 27 June 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh speaking with a hawker during a party walkabout in Bedok North on 27 June 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — “Murmurings on the ground” about Singapore’s fourth-generation (4G) leaders’ performance, especially that their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic leaves “more to be desired”, are not surprising, said Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh.

“I don’t think it is an out-of-the-ordinary comment that we hear from members of the public,” he said in response to a question from Yahoo News Singapore at a media doorstop outside Rivervale Plaza on Tuesday (7 July).

Yahoo had asked about Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s promise in his Fullerton Rally speech on Monday to stay on as PM till the pandemic is resolved. He only briefly mentioned the 4G leaders and did not speak of Deputy PM Heng Swee Keat, his designated successor, at all. Did this show a lack of confidence in the ability of Singapore’s fourth generation leaders to take over?

Singh added, “It is also noteworthy that PM spoke about Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean and Senior Minister Tharman (Shanmugaratnam) still (being) at the helm of the ship. I think there’s a significance in those comments.”

Singh was referring to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Fullerton Rally speech on Monday, during which the latter promised to continue leading Singapore through the COVID-19 crisis alongside his People’s Action Party (PAP) colleagues Teo and Tharman, as well as the 4G leaders.

On the issue of the police reports made against Sengkang GRC candidate Raessah Khan over her social media comments, Singh declined to comment further as investigations into the case were still ongoing.

He Ting Ru, the leader of WP’s Sengkang GRC team, said her group had been having “good discussions” about Raessah’s comments with residents, who have expressed their “support and concern”.

Singh also made a promise to Sengkang residents that, should the WP team be elected to office for the constituency, he would ensure that all residents would be treated equally regardless of the party they support.

A false choice

Workers' Party Sylvia Lim (centre) and the WP candidates for Sengkang GRC speak to residents at Rivervale Plaza on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo News Singapore
Workers' Party Sylvia Lim (centre) and the WP candidates for Sengkang GRC speak to residents at Rivervale Plaza on Tuesday, 7 July 2020. PHOTO: Nick Tan/Yahoo News Singapore

Party chair Sylvia Lim also addressed Lee’s appeal in his rally speech for Singaporeans to give his government a strong mandate, in order to lead the country through the pandemic. Lim labelled this as a “false choice” for voters, pointing to “robust democracies” like Taiwan and New Zealand that have been dealing with the coronavirus effectively.

“In New Zealand, in fact, the Prime Minister, her own party doesn't even have a majority of the MPs in the parliament. And the fact is that Singaporeans know that when there is a need to come together, they will support the government in handling the COVID-19 crisis, regardless of who they vote into Parliament.”

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