SINGAPORE - Political parties were back on walkabouts on Friday (June 19), hitting the ground on the first day that Singapore eased restrictions on dining at F&B establishments and small social gatherings.
MPs from the People's Action Party (PAP) and candidates from opposition parties were seen meeting residents in markets and doing home visits throughout the day throughout the island.
In keeping with safe distancing guidelines, they wore masks, largely kept to groups of no larger than five and did not shake hands with residents. Parties had put all such outreach on hold during circuit breaker.
Both the PAP and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) were at the Mayflower Market and Hawker Centre in the newly formed Kebun Baru constituency at different times on Friday morning.
Mr Henry Kwek, the PAP MP for the ward, visited the market early in the morning. He posted photos of himself talking to residents and shopkeepers.
"Delighted to reconnect with our residents, and even happier to see them doing well and going about their day! While we've be staying in touch last few months largely through zoom and over the phone, nothing beats seeing them face to face," he wrote.
A group of about 20 people from PSP led by Dr Tan Cheng Bock then visited the market at about 8.30am. The group either waved at residents or did fist bumps instead of shaking hands. They also split up into groups of five for breakfast.
The PSP has said it intends to contest Kebun Baru in the next general election.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, meanwhile, visited a market in Chai Chee.
The Marine Parade GRC MP wrote on Facebook: "Visiting Chai Chee again to check on Phase 2 situation. Seems very orderly. Folks were queuing up, masked up, safe distances. Everyone was visibly happier but many still echoed very sensible comments about still needing to be careful but not to be overly fearful and downcast. Hawkers said that business has been slow but hopefully will begin to pick up."
Over in Bishan, the Singapore People's Party distributed fliers at several housing blocks.
The party has previously announced its intention to run in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Potong Pasir. Party members, including secretary-general Steve Chia, 49, vice-chairman Williamson Lee, 40, Mr Osman Sulaiman, 45, and Mr Melvyn Chiu, 41, turned up for their first official outreach session post-circuit breaker.
The party members and several volunteers dispersed to distribute fliers to 47 blocks of flats. Mr Chia instructed them to not linger too long at each flat as residents might still be wary of the coronavirus.
Both the Reform Party and the Singapore Democratic Party also conducted walkabouts on Friday.
Reform Party chairman Andy Zhu was with three candidates that the party had introduced this week - assistant property manager Gurdev Singh, 55, party deputy treasurer Mahaboob Batcha, 52 and human resources practitioner Darren Soh, 52 - at a walkabout at Block 726 Clementi West Street 2 market in the evening.
Meanwhile, the SDP visited homes in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
The team, led by party members James Gomez, 55, Damanhuri Abas , 49, and Bryan Lim, 43, went door to door distributing fliers at a few HDB blocks in Choa Chu Kang North 7.
The Workers' Party did not announce any walkabouts, though it put up a video on its Facebook page showing members gearing up for house visits.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.