Singapore minister cannot mask scorn for Covid-19 panic-buyers


  • Singapore
  • Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020

Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing has criticised not only his fellow citizens for hoarding and wearing medical masks ... but also Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam for appearing in one recently. Leaked audio has emerged of the Singaporean Minister making the statements. - ST/ANN

SINGAPORE: Leaked audio has emerged of Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing criticising not only his fellow citizens for hoarding and wearing medical masks ... but also Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam for appearing in one recently.

The source of the audio is unknown, but appears to be a recording of a closed-door meeting conducted last week at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The recording, which has been widely shared on Singaporean social media, features Chan claiming that the sight of the mask-clad Hong Kong leader Lam prompted panic-buying in Hong Kong.

If Singaporean officials had emulated Lam, Chan said, "our hospital system would have broken down" as there would be "no more masks."

Lam wore a medical mask during a Jan 28 press conference about the coronavirus spreading in the region, prompting criticism in Hong Kong, where the wearing of masks in public was banned during months of anti-government protests in 2019.

The ban was an attempt to keep protesters from hiding their identities.

Masks have divided opinion since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatening to eject anyone wearing a mask from his press conferences, but with Thailand Health Minister criticising foreign visitors for not wearing masks.

Drawing laughter from his audience, Chan criticised as "disgraceful" and "idiotic" alleged hoarding and panic-buying of food and household goods in Singapore, where 81 cases of Covid-19 (coronavirus) have been confirmed.

In a post on his personal Facebook on Monday, Chan acknowledged that the meeting had taken place, but did not confirm or deny making the comments heard in the recording.

Chan said he had a "frank discussion" with the chamber, concluding his post by writing that "hearsay taken out of context will be unhelpful to trust-building and collective actions in these difficult times." - dpa/Asian News Network
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Minister , Singapore , Leaked Audio

   

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