GE2020: Parliament will be 'sterile' with 'one voice' if MPs don't ask right questions - Tan Cheng Bock

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·4-min read
GE2020: Progress Singapore Party Tan Cheng Bock speaking to media on 8 July. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/Joseph Nair)
GE2020: Progress Singapore Party Tan Cheng Bock speaking to media on 8 July. (PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore/Joseph Nair)

SINGAPORE — Parliament will be “sterile” with “one voice” if Members of Parliament (MP) did not ask the right questions, said Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Dr Tan Cheng Bock on Wednesday (8 July).

The PSP secretary-general was reflecting on his nine days of General Election (GE) campaigning at a doorstop, a day before Cooling Off Day.

Speaking to reporters at the void deck of Block 723 Clementi West Street 2, Dr Tan said, “If nobody asks questions, it becomes so sterile. Parliament will be so sterile, there will be one voice only.”

“So what I'm hoping that if we get a chance to go into Parliament, I would expect the MPs who have got in to ask the right questions, not just ask question for the sake of asking questions, but to actually ask questions to delve further into the subject, so that you can have full understanding, and then this will be reflected to the ground by all your media,” he said.

Asked about his chances in West Coast group representation constituency (GRC), where he contesting this GE, Dr Tan said, “We feel we have a good chance judging by the ground reception, and the vibe that we get from the residents so I hope we’ll do well.”

Dr Tan’s team for West Coast GRC also comprises Jeffrey Khoo, Hazel Poa, Leong Mun Wai and Nadarajah Loganathan. They will be facing off against the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP), consisting of ministers S Iswaran and Desmond Lee, as well as Foo Mee Har, Ang Wei Neng and Rachel Ong.

Dr Tan described his current campaign as a “good experience”, although it did curtail his party movements. He managed to learn about new technology and terminology, which he said was “quite fun”.

“At my age now, I’m beginning to learn new things,” he added, doing a finger heart gesture at the reporters. “Sometimes I do my walkabouts, all the young fellows will come and call me ‘hypebeast Ah Gong’,” he said, to chuckles from the reporters.

On a more serious note, Dr Tan stressed that his key message to voters was to have transparency in order to have good governance.

Said Dr Tan, “The key message is I'm always trying to hope the Singaporeans will understand, is a question of every government must be...examined based on certain very fundamental principles to have a good government.”

“You must have transparency. You cannot just assume people (would) understand, you must be open about it,” he added.

Echoing comments by Singapore Democratic Party’s Paul Tambyah earlier Wednesday that he regretted not being able to engage in a debate with Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing over COVID-19, Dr Tan added that he did not expect the debate to change the course of the election.

“They will justify what they have to say and then we have to debate. I think a debate is important honestly, because then it reveals how we may be wrong in some areas, they may also be wrong in certain areas.”

He pointed out that COVID-19 is the real issue of the election.

“If you take your eye off that issue, which I feel that the government currently calling this election is taking the eyes off the coronavirus, I really pray hard that no big spread will happen. This (is) one time I’d like to be wrong.”

The party is scheduled to continue its outreach efforts all the way until 11pm - with an e-rally and party broadcast lined up - an hour before Cooling-Off Day kicks in.

Dr Tan said, “Tomorrow I can go and eat and drink. I think it’s quite good to spend some family time. And also among our friends and my candidates, we also want to sit around and talk.”

Follow Yahoo News Singapore’s GE2020 coverage here.

Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore

General Election stories:

COMMENT: The dilemmas of a first-time voter

COMMENT: Low’s departure has accelerated the Workers’ Party’s transition - but at what cost?

GE2020: 6 women candidates who have caught our attention

GE2020: For love and a bigger cause - The Workers' Party couple reluctantly in the spotlight