Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin becomes the first politician to weigh in on Singaporeans' discomfort with the extra measures and precautions taken in the midst of the Wuhan virus situation.
Sharing an article on how the Hong Kong protesters set a planned quarantine building on fire, Tan urged Singaporeans to "understand and support the effort" for more stringent checks and the setting up of quarantine facilities.
Three hostels at the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have been designated as government quarantine facilities, announced Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung at a press conference on Jan. 27.
These hostels are:
- National University of Singapore (NUS), Prince George's Park.
- Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Hall 1 (grad hall).
- Singapore Management University (SMU), Block 83 Prinsep St.
"NIMBY-ism to the extreme"
Tan said that Singaporeans should never get to the stage where the "not in my back yard" syndrome goes to the extreme.
Giving an example in his post, Tan wrote:
"For example, I understand from a friend in the hospital that some members of the public are kicking up a fuss because more stringent checks are put in place and because number of visitors are being restricted."
He also asked Singaporeans not to "generalise behavioural traits of people just because some behave in poor ways".
He added that every country will have badly behaved individuals, but that is no basis to label an entire people in negative tones.
On a related note, an online petition calling on the Singapore government to “temporarily stop” Chinese nationals and travellers from China from entering the country has garnered much online traction.
It received more than 106,000 signatures in two days.
Earlier this afternoon, former Nominated Member of Parliament, Calvin Cheng, has written a Facebook post rationalising why the petition is flawed.
As pointed out by Cheng, the current facts on the ground indicate that the current concentration of cases is in Hubei.
Banning Chinese travellers from elsewhere of their huge country from leaving and coming to Singapore would be "overkill", Cheng wrote.
Cheng wrote that it would, however, make sense if a ban was applied to "all travel of people to and from Hubei".
This is consistent with the new government policy announcement this afternoon, as Hubei travellers will be denied from entering Singapore from Jan. 29, 12pm.
They will also be unable to transit through Singapore.
Top photo from Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook.