GE2020: PV fields firebrand Gilbert Goh, social activist for the underprivileged

PHOTO: Facebook/ Gilbert Goh

Opposition party Peoples Voice announced this morning (June 27) through a video on its Facebook page that it would field activist Gilbert Goh to contest in Pioneer SMC.

The party's secretary-general Lim Tean said: "(Goh) works tirelessly for Singaporeans, from helping retrenched Singaporeans who have lost their jobs via coaching and job searching, and to the homeless Singaporeans he visits almost nightly distributing blankets, masks, and sanitisers."

Lim also added Goh, as an election candidate, will "continue his groundwork of helping, listening and understanding the real struggles of Singaporeans".

Goh, who is in his late 50s, is doubtlessly one of the more colourful political personalities in Singapore who has appeared in local media for his philanthropic work and social activism, among other reasons.

***Vote for Peoples Voice in Pioneer SMC*** I take my hat off to Gilbert Goh, I admire him tremendously. He works...

Posted by Lim Tean on Friday, June 26, 2020

His activism and philanthropy

He is the founder and president of Transitioning.org, a resource centre providing counselling and coaching services to the unemployed. On his Facebook page, he speaks up for the elderly disadvantaged.

He, together with a team of volunteers, also regularly distributes food, cloth and surgical face masks, hand sanitisers, and other necessities to the underprivileged and the general public.

Late last year, he brought attention to the issue of primary school students here who are denied the original copy of their PSLE certificate if they have unpaid school fees.

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However, his philanthropy has also been abused.

In February, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office issued a correction notice against Goh after he posted on his Facebook page about a woman who said she and her six children were evicted from a HDB rental flat. Goh and his team donated cash and vouchers to the woman, but he later realised she had lied to him.

He apologised and said: "Moving forward, we will want to further verify... information first before approving any aid to future requests submitted by needy families."

Our food distribution to the poor later today. Thanks so much to our donors and volunteers. #SGUnited

Posted by Gilbert Goh on Friday, June 26, 2020

His brushes with the law

Before Peoples Voice, Goh was a member of other opposition parties such as the Reform Party in 2015, and the National Solidarity Party in 2011.

He also organised rallies and demonstrations, some of which raised a few eyebrows.

In January 2014, he organised a protest against transport fare hikes, where there were plans to burn an effigy of then-Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. After the police informed them that the act was illegal, the protestors splashed water on the effigy instead.

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In April that same year, Goh suggested in a Facebook post that a huge poster of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong be put up at a demonstration, for protesters to "vent their anger" upon. He had invited them to spit, throw eggs, and splash dog excrement at the poster.

He was advised by the police against carrying out such activities during the demonstration as they may constitute offences under the Penal Code and the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

In December last year, he was investigated by the police after it was reported that a foreigner had participated in a demonstration against the Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that he had organised. 

kwokkarpeng@asiaone.com