Covid-19 election: PAP suspends walkabouts as Tanjong Pagar GRC MP heavily criticised for hawker visit

Walkabouts are non-essential activities.

Guan Zhen Tan | Belmont Lay | April 14, 2020, 01:00 PM

The People’s Action Party (PAP) has suspended all on-the-ground initiatives such as market visits, home visits and meet-the-people sessions.

Singapore’s ruling party put up the announcement in a Facebook post on Monday, April 13.

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The Facebook post did not reference any incidents, but it came a day after Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, Chia Shi-Lu, was heavily criticised for distributing face masks to hawkers at Alexandra Village Food Centre.

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Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported that Chia was accompanied by Eric Chua, director of SGSecure Programme Office, a potential PAP candidate for the upcoming general election.

The publicly recognisable duo were singled out as they were still out and about during the current elevated safe distancing period to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Chia and Chua are unlikely to be members of the same household.

From a Lianhe Zaobao photo of the walkabout, they were also seen walking in threes with another elderly grassroots leader.

The PAP post announcing the stoppage of ground initiatives read: “At this time, it is critical that, as far as possible, all of us play our part, to protect all of us, especially our seniors. Our MPs (Members of Parliament) and representatives remain contactable.”

“Once this is over we will be out there again, meeting you, organising activities and hosting Meet-the-People sessions. For now, please stay home. Stay safe and take care.”

Gatherings of any size banned

Gatherings of any size in Singapore are now banned under the current circuit breaker period rules to cut social interaction.

The National Environment Agency had also informed political parties that meet-the-people sessions should not be conducted until May 4.

The Workers’ Party had announced on March 26 that it has temporarily suspended all house visits, but will remain contactable via digital platforms.

Mothership has reached out to Chia for his comment on Apr. 13 and will update the article when he responds.

All photos of Chia Shi-Lu via Chia Shi-Lu Facebook