The Multi-ministry Task Force is playing a chess game – more for politics and economics than public health

The Multi-ministry Task Force is playing a chess game – more for politics and economics than public health.

The ST headline (25-3-20): “Sweeping new measures to check virus spread” sounds more a political statement to bolster the crumbling image of the Task Force than to fight the virus to safeguard people’s health.

And there is no better time to glorify the work of the politicians in the Task Force than now when the total number of infections in Singapore has reached an all time high of 558 – to show actions in crisis.

Singapore has been seeing double-digit jump in infection cases daily over the last week or so. The Task Force simply failed to keep the infections down despite exploring various new measures.

Instead of closing casinos, Universal Studio and shopping malls, they close bars, clubs, cinemas and even atrium sales events.

Instead of closing schools, kindergartens, polytechnics and universities, they close tuition centres and enrichment classes to reduce intermingling of students from different schools (but aren’t all students in all schools are similarly screened daily before entering their schools?)

Instead of banning all social events and gatherings for 2-3 weeks, gatherings outside of work and school are to be limited to 10 persons. (In a train compartment, there are easily 10 or more commuters in the morning hours, yet nothing was done to minimize risk of infections.)

How can such limited measures be described as “sweeping new measures?”

Just compare these limited measures of the Task Force with some bold and decisive measures adopted by other countries:
-UK shut down the Metro, closed schools and universities and suspended the A-Level exam;
- Japan PM announced the closure of all schools;
-PM India announces 21-day lockdown of India from 24 Mar;
-Thailand shut down all schools, universities, shopping malls and restaurants; and
- PM Malaysia announced a lockdown with restricted movement order from 18 to 31 Mar.

A good example to look at is South Korea with a population of 50m. With the sudden and sharp increases of new cases which almost drowned the country, the health authorities managed the epidemic with courage and transparency. It has now 9137 cases and 126 deaths. Total deaths/1m pop is 2. How did the country overcome the massive virus threat?
This is how the S Koreans won the battle:
1. Intervene fast, before it’s a crisis;
2. Test early, often and safely;
3. Contact tracing, isolation and surveillance;
4. Enlist the public’s help.
(ST 24-3-20 “Coronavirus: How South flattened the curve.”)

It’s success was recognized by WHO as a model for emulation. Yet, the country remains modest; “South Korean officials caution that their successes are tentative.”

Compare this to Singapore’s posture with no end to citing WHO’s compliments and the “gold standard” the country has achieved.

Singapore is far from overcoming the Covid19 crisis that South Korea went through successfully.

South Korea’s extensive testing of the population shows it has no fear even the numbers of infections are high. It’s all about public health and safety of the people, no
politics. Sure they are concerned about the negative impact on their economy but public health remains the top priority.

Thailand’s Minister for Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, in an interview with CNA on 19 Mar, said that the work of fighting the Coronavirus was done by a big team
of doctors who worked in the ministry for a long time and they put up the plans and the politicians only gave approval and provided the necessary support and resources.

In Singapore, the two co-chairman and all members in the Task Force are political appointees. We must therefore expect a high degree of politics in the decision-making process. A high and rapidly rising numbers of infections, though a public health issue, could be viewed quite differently by the Minister of Health and his co-chairman.

This probably, could be the reason for the Task Force spending much time to grapple with many issues, unable to decide quickly which measures to take and finally chose those with the least resistance. Obviously, there are political considerations beyond public health to consider if politicians are decision-makers in a public health crisis. How can the closing of tuition centres and enrichment classes have the same capacity to help Singapore contain the local spread among the student population? So, these new measures are far from “sweeping.”

With today’s spike of 73 new cases of which 18 cases are linked to PCF Sparkletots Centre, can we still believe the Task Force is keeping the Covid19 epidemic under control?

And the PAP government is still thinking of holding the GE soon to seek a new mandate to see Singapore through.

Do they really deserve such a mandate?

Take care, be safe.


Kok Ming Cheang





28 Responses to “The Multi-ministry Task Force is playing a chess game – more for politics and economics than public health”

  • Can you handle it?:

    These pappies are good in becoming crying babies to show that they care and concern.

    Xia suay idiots include lim goon heng, then pinky. Now lawless wong.


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  • Budget 20 no big deal:

    Today’s st editorial was slanted about dipping into reserves,of course we should not dip into reserves ,now they use it as excuse not to have done more for sporeans,
    Look at jewel and the upgrading of military aircraft every decade or do, isn’t that a waste of money?
    The article said the hoarding of reserves is justified,in case of defence who is the enemy?if it acts as deterrent then maintaining a
    Airforce that is modern and a army is sufficient,jewel is unnecessary in light of covid it is a big stone at our necks

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  • opposition dude:

    This is why PAP has to resort to suddenly adding the phrase “imported cases” to wayang and fool the dafts into believing that it isn’t, as usual, their fault.

    Imported cases what, not local mah. So somehow can be considered as not counted according to PAP. Unfortunately these people with shit for brains have forgotten that local or imported cases result in the same thing which is people being infected and the virus spreading.

    There is no need to say that PAP are incompetent, they have already shown it multiple times and still showing it with their reluctance to shut down schools nor our borders. They still think they can cope with the number of infections.

    Hold the election now PAP, it will be interesting to see how the silent majority vote!

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  • $1.00 share:

    SPh less @ $1.00 plus. Go get your sums right!

    You are now in healthcare…… how many cases in your healthcare centre? You have not died with oldcock?

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  • Tremendous:

    Those village chiefs want the mandate for lots of reasons. They want to hold on to power with poor Covid 19 performances. With the latest law enforcement on fines for minimum distances which will create tensions in the community, looks like the performance has moved quickly from C+ to D-. Got the cheek to tell citizens fear is the worse than anything, look how badly our war-untested generals read situations.
    Look at how other villages are doing better to curb new numbers and deaths. Look at their population size. Finally look at the pay cheques of their chiefs.

    Village chiefs from a certain party also want the mandate to continue bringing us with worldwide rock bottom fertility rates, and accountability avoidance for sovereign funds. Keep on telling people they did everything but if they didn’t do everything right, the results will not come, tio boh.

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  • Hu Chian:

    “The longer we wait, the more unpredictable, difficult and dangerous it could be,”

    1) The PROBLEM will be dragged on, even artificially if necessary, in order to saturate the public mindset with it.

    2) The REACTION was people glued to their TV’s, fearful of how far it might go and how it will affect them. People were blogging about it, even writing HubPages articles about it and consoling each other in the comment section. Then the focus turns to: “What are the causes of all this?” “What needs to be done to prevent it?” “Please do something; we’ll accept almost anything but this.”

    3) Solution
    ” Calling for “early elections” — one of the two options, other than waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to subside by the constitutional deadline — will enable the new government to have “a clear and fresh mandate” and the “legitimacy to take major decisions, tough decisions” through the crisis for the benefit of Singaporeans, said Mr Teo.

    “The longer we wait, the more unpredictable, difficult and dangerous it could be,” he warned.”


    Hegelian Dialectic – The No. 1 Tool of the Illuminati …

    Unconstitutional to delay General Election in the absence of a …

    Delusional disorder – Wikipedia

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  • Gaming:

    Quote: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has sounded a warning that Cabinet ministers are not paid enough and that down the road, Singapore will be confronted with the problem of getting competent people to join the Government.
    Is it true? Are our local opposition parties that incompetent than all highly paid PAP elites? At this god testing human era, we know who are greedy, incompetent and kiasu.

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    No Sporean is going to say accelerate the GE at the cost of human life because no Sporean is going to say how much a life is worth.
    Top priority of a Responsible Govt. job is to keep focus how to “save lives!” You already have mandate to rule till April 2021, more than a year from now…..

    If they call for an General Election within the next six months, Voters should think wisely do they really deserve a mandate? I see it as an Bargain Chip or Threat as “I ONLY WORK HARDER IF I’M GIVEN A MANDATE” to rule another 5 years.

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  • can or cannot?:

    we citizens should call for a ‘no confidence vote’.
    or does sg constitution law disallow it?
    wont be surprised if they term it as rioting!
    these paps have let us down big time…all they know is to cover everything with money of hardworking sgs.

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  • WakeupSG:

    If the Task Force composition of politicians is not removed the politicking will continue and the people’s safety continues to be compromised, there is no ghost of a chance to contain the virus!

    Crying will not help!

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  • C wong:

    Measures not thought through

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  • Great Asia:


    From day one I already told you that PAP fat cats were wayanging.


    Because they wanted to exploit the coronavirus crisis to hold a General Election, thus, they had to keep Singapore “business as usual”. The fat cats didn’t expect that the community spread could be so fast and furious.

    They were risking Singaporean’s health for their self serving political interests.

    Look at the character of “Honourable Son”, it’s very hard to imagine that he won’t want to exploit the opportunity to hold the GE. Right?

    Ha ha ha!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    A bunch of IDIOTS!!!…passing off as BRILLIANT!!!

    Feed the monkeys a bunch of Bananas and they can perform Better!!!

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  • Didn't Have to Be:

    It didn’t have to be this way.

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  • Smart, dirty rotten scoundrels:

    Ming, to put it succinctly …. we’re screwed by this LKY phenomenon called the (pap only)parliamentarian-CEO, secret GLC remunerations, and opaque,hidden cpf public-funds accounting. It’ll never work becos ownself can never regulate ownself with vested interests – the whole first-world know this….
    Why are they lumped with the world’s top crony regimes Russia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sinchiapor, Ukraine, India?

    And they need your mandate to perpetuate this corrupted elitist system….the fake democracy of dirt-rich corporate executives.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Now the taskforce is blaming the ppl going to night clubs and such. Isn’t it the PAP govt giving the idea it is ok to do so since we can have election during this period.

    Actually the taskforce is in the power to stop these activities why it did not so.

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  • C’est la vie:

    They’ve failed and yet the papers and their trash talk would suggest anything but.

    Having the mouthpiece of the multi-ministerial machine, conveniently showcase his “waterworks”, was I suppose, … their piece de resistance, and many red dotters gushed over the man’s tears that turned into streams, and then rivers, and finally, of ocean proportions.

    The man has a huge capacity indeed, … to play to a naive audience.

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  • seriously serious oredy:

    SG is in a virtual lockdown..
    everything oso cannot plus so many restrictions..
    its alright i agree for the good of all..but sgov die die wont raise the RED FLAG…declare a true lockdown.
    why ?
    is it bcuz pap wants the GE to go ahead?
    infection numbers are rising each day.
    isnt it putting people at risk?
    just vote the whole useless spineless bunch out..
    our daily lives and movements have all been restricted yet theyre still saying everything is under control…really?!!

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  • Election ?:

    PAP will not listen to anyone.

    They have already decided weeks ago.

    Announcement is expected anytime soon. Opposition will end up sucking their fingers without any public rally. That’s what PAP wants – No Rallies !

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  • NotMyProblem:

    If the PAP must has the GE sooner, why not learn how the other countries or regions put the covid-19 under control.

    Hubei residents already enjoying their victory over the virus. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also have the virus under control. Japan and S Korea also having victory in sight.

    Did the taskforce ask themselves why SG still having to come up with stupid half-thought measures that only look ridiculous. Example; control the crowd in shopping malls by limiting the number of people inside, but next to it, thousand of people were moving at the bus base at the interchange. Both are under the same roof.

    Don’t forget those countries’ ministers are not paid by millions.

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  • @NotMyProblem

    I agree with you. About 50 million residents in China sacrificed their freedom to buy time for the world but those living in the ivory towers instead of taking a leaf from the Chinese authorities, they act smart and try to prove to the world that they are better and smarter than the Chinese authorities.

    If those living in the ivory towers had humbled themselves and learn from the Chinese authorities, the local infection levels won’t not climb so rapidly and Sinkapore would be celebrating like Wuhan now.

    Compared to Wuhan, Sinkapore is a very small and has very managible space and population. If they had wanted to seriously control and stamp out the virus, it would take only a week or so. The logistical requirements are huge, but it is not impossible but doable.

    So I am surprised why they are not acting on it but is playing “I got balls”, no need to lock down, no need to wear masks, etc.

    The only reasons I can think of are:

    1. They intentionally want the virus to “explode” to create a sense of fear so that they can be returned with a strong mandate.

    2. They are unwilling to spend needless $$$ (peanut compared to teh $40b) to completely wipe off the virus, especially if doing so has no political points to score.

    Even an idiot like me also can think of a way to completely weed out those infected and clean the city without the need for a complete lock down and having to spend $40b to bail out the local businesses and workers, so how come the millions-paid millisters cannot. Dio bo?

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  • Common Sense:

    You’ve got a point there. If I nip the problem in the bud. Would people take note, appreciate it? Humans take things for granted. So let problem escalate first then nip it and you’ve the people’s attention & gratitude.
    Tio bor???

    TRE Techie: he only reasons I can think of are:

    1. They intentionally want the virus to “explode” to create a sense of fear so that they can be returned with a strong mandate.

    2. They are unwilling to spend needless $$$ to completely wipe off the virus, especially if doing so has no political points to score.

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  • @ Common Sense

    Precisely, so far all the supposed actions and measures they have taken are all political considerations, not really for public health as the author rightly puts it.

    They know they can do a sweeping clean clean of the virus within weeks but IMHO, they deliberately take their own sweet time and do a controlled sweep so that the fear factor remains thorough and up to GE in order for them to secure a strong mandate knowing that Sinkaporeans are sibei Gia Si and are afraid of changes at a time of national crisis.

    China has been very successful and their proven results attest to that. While Sinkapore may not follow exactly all their measures, but surely it can adapt the more suitable ones to be applied, right?

    Even I the idiot has noticed that an application of some of the measures that China has taken will solve’s Sinkapore’s infection spread once and for all within weeks (including quarantine and medical observation period), don’t tell me the millions-paid millisters dunno meh?

    Having watched how China eradicates the virus (me at very very close range) within 2 months, I think I can safely say I now more experienced and qualified than the 2 jokers heading the so-called task force liao. If they willing pay me $2m and I cannot settle the virus thingy by June, limbei willing to swallow a mug of Corona. lol

    No need to do a complete lock down can already solve the problem within weeks liao they don’t want, come out with all these useless measures to BS and wayangs, if not political then tell me what?

    An island the size of a needle compared to Wuhan, so very managible but tell MSM to BS and wayang until like the country is fighting world war 3 like dat. Simi pay cut, simi $40b, all you think Sinkaporeans no need to pay back one meh? Since when in history the party so good gib out chicken wings don’t take back whole chicken one?

    Diu, and some more the 70% or so fell for it. Just looking at the carry balls messages on the MSM Facebook make me want to puke and ROTFLOL. No wonder the late Mr Lee say Sinkaporeans are so freaking daFTS, he so wasn’t wrong.

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  • Gold Rush GE:

    It’s like a Gold Rush for all of them to score big this GE.

    MAI Dan Liao !

    This GE is easiest to win in whole sg history.

    National Reserves vs Penniless Opposition hated by the super majority.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    @TRE Techie and @Common Sense;

    The bud may already exploded, nipping it may not be that easy now!!

    However PAP’s ministers may just take the opportunity to fake some ministers kenna infected by Convid-19, to buy some sympathy votes.

    The most probable candidate for such action would be LHL. He is good actor for such character. Remember the fainting spell act?

    Recently, when he gave a speech, with a run-down look, supporters asked him to rest. Well a good opportunity right?

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  • @NotMyProblem

    Yes and maybe, but it can still be done. Just look at how explosive Wuhan was with thousands of infections but they still nib it within 2 months (the operative word here being: nib it and stop it from spreading further).

    Currently, the MOH is only adopting a “wait and see” stace, allowing the virus to spread and then curing those infected, doing so does not eradicate those virus that are in silent carriers and therefore will not solve the problem of infections spreading to others.

    The most important thingy is to use their brains and not their a$$e when making decisions. lol

    As for the kenna wayang should the party decides to stage one, I don’t thinky it would be him again lor, “PM kenna virus” the role already taken up by UK PM liao. Liz time hor, I thinky maybe they may cast the son of a Gan so the dramatic effect would be greater. LW also possible but he has a comedy face, so the end effect will not sibei good.

    “See, the HEALTH MINISTER has overworked himself and kenna Covid-19 some more so that you sillyzens may be safe!”

    What do you think?

    P/S: Sinkapore today say 49 new cases, total 732 kenna liao. Got 5 from Sparkletots (hope not children) and a new cluster from post office gto 3. Clearly local infections are on a upward trend compared to imported ones.

    Wonder they will loon and wayang until what figure then they will stop the BS and take definitive action lay?

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  • NotMyProblem:

    “As for the kenna wayang should the party decides to stage one, I don’t thinky it would be him again lor, “PM kenna virus” the role already taken up by UK PM liao.”

    @TRE Techie; PM is a better actor for this. His look is already like kenna virus everyday, so not much make-up is necessary. Further, he already done it once, so has the required experience.

    This time he may get himself an OSCAR, or at least a Mediacorp award.

    GD Star Rating
  • Play Along and Be Helpful:

    What other options do we have beside playing along in this game of chess? In the meantime, help them out by putting on a mask when in crowded public places.

    GD Star Rating

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