Home ยป Pritam’s response to the TraceTogether saga is ‘politicking par excellence’
politics, Pritam’s response to the TraceTogether saga is ‘politicking par excellence’

Pritam’s response to the TraceTogether saga is ‘politicking par excellence’

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Reacting to WP Pritam Singh’s response to the TraceTogether saga in Parliament, Facebook user Martin Pereira said that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

The public was caught by surprise when it was revealed by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan on Jan 4 that under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the police can obtain any data under Singapore’s jurisdiction for criminal investigations, including TraceTogether data.

Since then, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan had apologised more than once for the oversight in failing to inform the public that TraceTogether is also subject to the CPC.

Dr Vivian is a medical doctor by training. He has taken the Hippocratic Oath. ‘Saving lives’ is his priority. He only thought about TT as a tool to save life. Nothing else.

But sadly the priority of opposing camp politicians is politics. And in politics, you grab every opportunity to hit back at your opponent. Never mind if they have done well or not. Just pick on one area that they didn’t do as good and blow it up to your advantage.

And that’s exactly what the opposition politicians did in Parliament.

Yesterday, a Bill was passed in Parliament which will allow the CPC to use data gleaned from Trace Together to be used for 7 heinous crimes.

Facebook user, Martin credited Minister Vivian Balakrishnam ‘for having the guts to admit his mistake and take the criticisms and blame squarely on the jaw’.

Politics in Parliament from WP

He also took aim at the WP for their characteristic ‘politicking par excellence’ in Parliament, which he said has come to be ‘expected of the WP’.

“The WP characteristically then came on to say via LOS Pritam Singh that this saga had caused public disquiet and had eroded the public’s confidence in the PAP Government,” Martin said.

The WP Chief who is also the Leader of the Opposition had implied in his lengthy speech that the Government was less than forthright to the people of Singapore and called into question, ‘the integrity of the Government’.

Rather than being less than forthright, it will do Pritam Singh good to remember that it was a PAP MP Christopher de Souza who raised the question of whether the TT data could be accessed by Police. It is interesting to note that several of the WP MPs are lawyers by profession – Pritam Singh himself being one – and yet it did not occur to them to raise the question. That much for checking on the government.

Not a loss of confidence; the contrary has been proven

Addressing WP and their supporters, Martin said people in glass houses should not throw stones.

Rather than a loss of confidence, the contrary has been proven, he said. 350 people had asked for their data to be deleted in the past month since the fiasco started. But more than 300,000 people have taken up TraceTogether since then.

This hardly shows that Singaporeans have lost confidence in the Government or this very important initiative, Martin pointed out.

Where’s the forthrightness from WP on their own mistakes?

Martin then contrasted the government’s response to the saga with how WP explained their past mistakes ‘like the AHTC saga which was criminal and their town council cleaning of the Bedok Market ceilings fiasco’.

“You will see the difference between the 2 parties,” Martin asserted.

“In fact Mr Singh said explicitly in Parliament that he would only explain to Residents in Aljunied about the AHTC saga even though it involved public funds and felt no obligation to give an explanation in Parliament,” reminded Martin.

“Unfortunately this brand of politics seems to be acceptable to Singaporeans if you take the GE 2020 results as an indicator,” he continued. “I am also sure the WP will resurface this saga in the next GE.” That’s definitely bad politics.

“In fact MP Gerald Giam had the audacity or shall I say stupidity to suggest that Trace Together be exempt from the CPC entirely,” he added.

Bad politics: Most disappointing is PSP

“The most disappointing to me however is the PSP,” Martin further elaborated.

“When presented with the bill and the 7 crimes which would not be exempt from the CPC in Trace Together, it steadfastly insisted that Trace Together be only used for contact tracing. By their stand even a terrorist act or aggravated rape are not reasons good enough for Trace Together information to be used by the SPF under the CPC,” Martin expressed in shock.

“The PSP just like Mr Giam seems to place a premium on individual freedoms rather than collective good. This is surprising considering the calibre of their members. Their WW chair Wendy Low is a practicing lawyer and not to mention their Sec Gen who has experience as an MP.”

He also asked if ‘having someone who obviously needs a reality check like Brad Bowyer in their ranks has skewed their thinking’.

PAP shows humility, not guilty of group think

Martin said, “The PAP has always been accused of group think and also of being too arrogant to admit when it makes a mistake. This Trace Together saga has proven that this is untrue.

The PAP prides itself on telling Singaporeans the truth no matter how unpopular it may be and this episode has clearly shown that this is true.

In addition if has shown humility by apologizing. What is more important however is that it now should not be accused of group think.”

He reminded his readers that it was PAP MP Christopher de Souza who surfaced the question about Trace Together being subject to the CPC, and not any of the opposition MPs who always claim that Singaporeans need them to provide the checks and balances to the Government.

Concluding his post, he said, “I sincerely hope that the actions of the party I support will warm the cockles of Singaporeans hearts after the expensive mistake it made. I won’t be holding my breath though.”

Wanna see more examples of bad politics in Parliament? Here goes:

politics, Pritam’s response to the TraceTogether saga is ‘politicking par excellence’

It cannot be that the Leader of the Opposition does not know that TraceTogether has a range of 10m and therefore would only capture the TraceTogether tokens of those within 10m of him.

Let’s frown on bad politics that put party interests above national interests.

Here is Martin Pereira’s Facebook post reproduced in full:

Today Parliament passed a bill into law which will allow the CPC to use data gleaned from Trace Together to be used for 7 heinous crimes. Minister Vivian Balakrishnan then apologized for his gross oversight previously regarding this saga. Kudos to him for having the guts to admit his mistake and take the criticisms and blame squarely on the jaw.

The WP characteristically then came on to say via LOS Pritam Singh that this saga had caused public disquiet and had eroded the public’s confidence in the PAP Government. This has come to be expected of the WP as this is politicking par excellence. He then implied in his lengthy speech that the Government was less than forthright to the people of Singapore and called into question, as expected the integrity of the Government.

I would like to tell the WP and their supporters that people in glass houses should not throw stones. Minister Balakrishnan explained his dastardly mistake in Parliament and also provided some very interesting figures. 350 people had asked for their data to be deleted in the past month since this fiasco started. More than 300000 over people however have taken up trace together since then however and as Min Balakrishnan so aptly put it, this hardly shows that Singaporeans have lost confidence in the Government or this very important initiative. It seems to me that the contrary has been proven.

Now contrast this with how WP explained their past mistakes like the AHTC saga which was criminal and their town council cleaning of the Bedok Market ceilings fiasco and you will see the difference between the 2 parties. In fact Mr Singh said explicitly in Parliament that he would only explain to Residents in Aljunied about the AHTC saga even though it involved public funds and felt no obligation to give an explanation in Parliament.

Unfortunately this brand of politics seems to be acceptable to Singaporeans if you take the GE 2020 results as an indicator. I am also sure the WP will resurface this saga in the next GE. In fact MP Gerald Giam had the audacity or shall I say stupidity to suggest that Trace Together be exempt from the CPC entirely.

The most disappointing to me however is the PSP. When presented with the bill and the 7 crimes which would not be exempt from the CPC in Trace Together, it steadfastly insisted that Trace Together be only used for contact tracing. By their stand even a terrorist act or aggravated rape are not reasons good enough for Trace Together information to be used by the SPF under the CPC. The

PSP just like Mr Giam seems to place a premium on individual freedoms rather than collective good. This is surprising considering the calibre of their members. Their WW chair Wendy Low is a practicing lawyer and not to mention their Sec Gen who has experience as an MP. One wonders whether consorting with an imbecile like PJ Thum or even having someone who obviously needs a reality check like Brad Bowyer in their ranks has skewed their thinking.

The PAP has always been accused of group think and also of being too arrogant to admit when it makes a mistake. This Trace Together saga has proven that this is untrue. The PAP prides itself on telling Singaporeans the truth no matter how unpopular it may be and this episode has clearly shown that this is true. In addition if has shown humility by apologizing.

What is more important however is that it now should not be accused of group think. Remember it was PAP MP Christopher de Souza who surfaced the question about Trace Together being subject to the CPC not any of the opposition MPs who always claim that Singaporeans need them to provide the checks and balances to the Government. I sincerely hope that the actions of the party I support will warm the cockles of Singaporeans hearts after the expensive mistake it made. I won’t be holding my breath though.

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