The Nine Days is a socialservice.sg podcast covering the 2020 general election in Singapore (#GE2020), through daily five-minute news summaries, conversations with young voters, and interviews with academics and experts.
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WP’s Raeesah Khan in the news
Raeesah Khan is the founder of a women and children empowerment initiative. At 26 years old, she is also the Workers’ Party’s youngest candidate this election. The Police confirmed two reports lodged against her on July 4th and 5th, for two of her social media posts.
In its statement, the Police wrote that Ms. Khan allegedly commented that law enforcement discriminated against citizens. She compared that other groups, rich Chinese, and white people were treated differently under the law.
In addition, she allegedly commented that Singapore jailed minorities, harassed mosque leaders, but let quote, “corrupt church leaders who stole $50 million”, end-quote, walk free. This was in the context of the City Harvest Church ruling.
Police investigations are ongoing. The candidate’s comments are alleged to be religiously and racially divisive, and which promote enmity between groups. Ms. Khan has since apologised, and her personal Facebook account has been made private:
Ms. Khan: “My intention was never to cause any social division but to raise awareness to minority concerns. I apologise to any racial group or community who have been hurt by my comments. My remarks were insensitive, and I regret making them. I feel really passionate about minority issues, regardless of race, and in my passion I made improper remarks and I have to be accountable for them. I will fully cooperate in any police investigations.” (00:28 to 00:54)
WP’s Pritam Singh said the party stands behind Ms. Khan and the Sengkang GRC team. He added that he had no regrets fielding the candidate, and that she will continue with the election campaign.
Moments after the news broke, the hashtag #IStandWithRaeesah was the number one trending topic on Twitter. Facebook posts in support of the candidate quickly went viral too.
The Pofma office issued five correction directions, including one against Channel NewsAsia. This was the first time a mainstream media outlet has been issued a correction direction.
The correction directions relate to statements made by Dr. Paul Tambyah of the Singapore Democratic Party. Dr. Tambyah had criticised the government’s handling of the pandemic on July 2nd. He said the Ministry of Manpower had effectively discouraged employers from sending their foreign workers to the hospitals for testing. Employers were threatened with the loss of work permit privileges.
In response, the People’s Action Party’s Lawrence Wong said that the MOM advisory had been put out at the request of medical experts. Mr. Wong also leads the multi-ministry taskforce. He added that doctors and medical experts requested MOM to put out the advisory to employers.
MOM said the following in the advisory. Quote, “Do not send workers to hospitals unless it is a medical emergency. If the worker is unwell, employers should send him to a general practitioner to seek medical attention, who will make a proper assessment on whether the worker needs to be sent to the hospital”. End-quote.
For more about Pofma and the other times correction directions have been issued this election, check out the episode from yesterday.
Coronavirus still in the community
Finally, GE2020 is still the “Pandemic election”. Singapore reported 136 new COVID-19 infections, 18 of which were “community cases”. That is, Singapore residents and pass holders, but not including work permit holders and dormitory residents.
Of the 18, seven were imported cases. There were seven imported cases (this correction was made on July 6th). It was the sixth consecutive day we had new imported cases. 18 is also the highest number of “community cases” since June 12th. Authorities expect the number of cases to continue increasing, and the impact of the election campaign remains to be seen.
We are just three days from Polling Day.
Check out socialservice.sg for three special episodes. First, two researchers who specialise in the Opposition evaluate the performance of the parties. Second, I speak to a pair of students promoting political literacy and consciousness. And third, I offer a brief sketch of social welfare policies between GE2015 and GE2020.