'A life and death situation': PAP's Koh Poh Koon compares governing during pandemic to emergency surgery

Koh Poh Koon.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/PAPTampinesGRC

Tampines newcomer Koh Poh Koon is set to contest for Tampines GRC this year, together with four other returning People's Action Party (PAP) members – Masagos Zulkifli, Baey Yam Keng, Desmond Choo and Cheng Li Hui.

In a surprise turn of events, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat, who previously represented Tampines GRC since the 2011 elections, has put down his name for East Coast GRC. The DPM will instead be contesting against a Worker's Party's team featuring Nicole Seah.

In this year's election, the PAP team will be running against the National Solidarity Party's Choong Hon Heng, Ridzwan Mohammad, Reno Fong, Yeo Ren-Yuan and Vincent Ng at Tampines GRC. 

As for Koh, he was previously elected as a Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC in the 2015 election.

The 48-year-old doctor served as Minister of State for both National Development and Trade and Industry from 2016 to 2017. Since 2018, he has taken on the role of Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

In an e-rally on the PAP Tampines GRC's Facebook page last night (June 30), Koh shared some hard-hitting opinions on the issues that Singapore is facing.

He urged the public to be "realistic on the challenges we face" and shared an analogy on how Singapore can tackle the uncertainty of the coronavirus.

Koh said that not only Singapore but the rest of the world is facing a lot of economic and social stress brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In fact, this is like when you're doing surgery, you have a massive bleeding and everything is being threatened right now — a life and death situation".

As a surgeon, Koh explained that when he wants to do a difficult case — such as an emergency surgery when someone is bleeding — he wants the best team with him.

"I want to have the best nurses, best anaesthetists, best assistants. We want a full team of everyone who has experience, who can get the job done".

He added, "I do not need someone standing next to me and just talk and trying to tell me what to do when he can’t even do it."

Koh related the medical analogy to being part of a competent team of leaders in Parliament. 

"We must get through this crisis and that is where each and every one of your vote counts, to make sure we have the best team in Parliament, a full team of people with experience who can do the work."

trining@asiaone.com