SINGAPORE — Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Dr Tan Cheng Bock on Thursday (30 July) praised Leader of the Opposition (LO) Pritam Singh for pledging to donate 50 per cent of his additional salary, while calling out detractors.
Singh, who is also Workers’ Party chief and a Member of Parliament (MP) in Aljunied GRC, had announced two days ago that he would be setting aside some $96,000 per annum – before taxes – to charitable and community causes, as well as the WP.
In a Facebook post on his official account, Dr Tan – who led the party’s West Coast GRC team that earned the highest vote share among all the losing opposition teams – called the gesture “wonderful and generous” and said it sets a good example for Singaporeans to emulate.
“It is sad and unbecoming, that some people have chosen instead, to cast aspersions on his intentions,” he added.
People make donations publicly and privately all the time “on both sides of the political divide”, Dr Tan wrote.
“It is far better to be gracious and welcome the gesture, than to continue to try to score political points. This is very disappointing,” he added.
“In these difficult times, it is good to think of others and actively and intentionally help with what we have. This then, is truly #SGUNITED.”
Dr Tan also said he was very happy for Singh and that his appointment as the LO represents “a significant maturing of our political process (though we still have some way to go)”.
He also noted that apart from having resources and a salary increase, the appointment comes with “additional responsibilities”.
Dr Tan’s comments come a day after former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng criticised Singh’s move to publicly announce his intention to donate part of his LO salary.
“The public theatre of Pritam Singh donating part of his salary is already deepening the divide. We must stop expecting our politicians to engage in kumbaya political theatre,” Cheng said in a Facebook post.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife and chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings Ho Ching shared Cheng’s post on Facebook and later, in a separate post, pointed out that several people have “donated and continue to donate quietly, without making any public announcement”.
“We are cheered by all forms of giving, including those who do it for virtue signalling,” she wrote in another Facebook post.
“If we look at the philanthropy giving, there are clearly many more who give quietly in all sorts of ways, to all sorts of good causes, across the board in and outside of Singapore,” she added.
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