Opposition politician Goh Meng Seng: S$7 million grant is ‘knee-jerk effect’

He says the government should have thought of a holistic plan

Joshua Lee | November 13, 2019, 12:02 AM

Goh Meng Seng, the chief of the People's Power Party (PPP), has some choice words for the way the Singapore government handled the personal mobility device issue.

Goh, who admits that he is not a PMD user, but has been talking about it for the last "four, five years", was at the dialogue session between PMD riders and the Senior Minister of State for Transpot Lam Pin Min on Nov. 12, 2019.

The session was held at Anchorvale Community Club, in Lam's Sengkang West SMC.

The 49-year-old said:

"[Lam] says that he use S$7 million for people to change to e-bike. You change to e-bike, you got to go by the road and it's more dangerous for them. And yet he says he is more concerned about safety. To me that's rubbish."

Mid-interview, a PMD rider chimed in, agreeing with Goh: "Pedestrian cannot die. PMD rider can die."

Goh was recently seen publicly on Nov.4, when he attended an opposition alliance meeting with Tan Cheng Bock.

Goh did not contest in Lam's Sengkang West SMS during the last General Election in 2015.

Instead, he led his PPP team in a contest at Choa Chu Kang GRC, and garnered 23.11 per cent of the vote share.

S$7 million grant a "knee-jerk effect"

Calling the recent e-scooter Trade-in-Grant to help PMD food delivery riders switch to alternative forms of transport a "knee-jerk effect to solve a problem that was created by them", Goh said that the government's way of solving the problem shouldn't put riders at more risk.

"As I said inside (the dialogue session), there's no ideal situation (where) there are no accidents. Every day we have accidents on the street. Are you going to ban vehicles? Are you going to ban people from driving on the roads? No!"

"As the government, it is your job to think of a holistic way to solve the problem. Not to ban the problem! We must decide if PMDs are good for us as a society, as a new technology," he said.

Goh: Government should have thought of a plan

If so, he said, then Singapore needs to build up an ecosystem to support this technology:

"PMDs have created a sub-economy for food delivery riders.... People are feeding their families with their jobs. So instead of spending money on a ban like that, you should have thought of a plan "

Some of the suggestions that Goh brought up included licensing to bring errant riders to heel, and spending money on workshops to educate PMD riders, instead of blowing it on a trade-in-grant, or resorting to a full ban.

Top image by Belmont Lay.