Ong Ye Kung on PSP's false CECA allegations: Parties don't need to disagree for sake of disagreeing

Instead, he wishes for parties to find common ground when it comes to the "fundamentals".

Ashley Tan | July 11, 2021, 06:43 PM

Parliament saw some fiery back and forth between several ministers and opposition politicians earlier this week on the topics of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

The debates came after the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai highlighted that CECA provides Indian professionals a "free hand" to work in Singapore.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has since called PSP out for their supposed false allegations on the agreement, which includes several Facebook posts by PSP members on the topic.

In response, Leong emphasised that they are not calling for the abolishment of FTAs, but wish to draw attention to the economic impact of the agreement.

If you haven't been following the debates, here's a nifty summary of what went on.

Shame that PSP did not withdraw wrongful allegations

On July 11, Ong shared more of his thoughts and reflected on the "two good days of robust debate in Parliament" in a Facebook post.

Previously, Ong shared that he "felt sad" that the PSP did not withdraw their statements about CECA and FTAs, despite the information he and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng had shared in their ministerial statements.

Ong reiterated this in his post, saying that "it is a shame" that PSP only said they would study the matter further and that they "refuse to withdraw their wrongful allegations".

"We don’t have to disagree for the sake of disagreeing," Ong added.

He highlighted the importance of finding common ground despite having differing political affiliations, especially on the "fundamentals, which are vital to Singapore".

He said:

"I am sure when it comes to the methods, whether it is to help home owners affected by EIP, or cushion the impact of globalization on our PMEs, there will be different views. But the fundamentals that keep Singapore stable and successful are not in doubt, and not shaken."

Seeing eye to eye

Nevertheless, Ong was heartened by the fact that the government and Leader of the Opposition, Pritam Singh of the Workers' Party (WP), saw eye to eye on certain matters.

In contrast with what was originally in the WP manifesto, where the party had expressed its wish for the EIP to be abolished, Singh said that the EIP is still necessary.

However, he hopes the EIP can be removed in the future, something which the national development minister Desmond Lee concurred.

In his post, Ong concluded that if such politics can be sustained in Singapore, "we can be confident that better days are still ahead".

You can read Ong's full post here.

Top photo from MCI / YouTube and PSP