Chan Chun Sing says leaked audio on crises benefiting PAP ‘taken out of context’

Still image from a video of Chan Chun Sing’s leaked audio clip. Image: The Online Citizen/Facebook
Still image from a video of Chan Chun Sing’s leaked audio clip. Image: The Online Citizen/Facebook

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing is back on tape in another leaked audio episode, this time addressing his views on holding an election during a crisis. 

The People’s Action Party candidate for Tanjong Pagar today said “truncated” audio clips of a 2019 conversation he had about running an election during a crisis were “taken out of context” and posted with “ill-intent,” noting the timing of the leak on the last day of campaigning. 

“I warned our people to never be complacent, thinking that a crisis will help PAP secure the votes at an election. It may be true that historically during crises, there may be a flight to quality and stability. But we must never take it for granted,” he wrote online today. 

The one-and-a-half-minute audio clip was put up by socio-political website The Online Citizen. In it, the 50-year-old politician can be heard saying, among other things, that winning the election had nothing to do with the nine days of campaigning but the work that was done by the party in years prior. 

He was also heard noting that “dependability” and “stability” were no longer seen as a virtue by voters and looked back at times PAP has performed well when elections were held during a crisis, including Lee Kuan Yew’s death in 2015, when the party scored nearly 70% of votes. 

“Every election the PAP [had] vote problems, you [can] check back the 50 years and see. Then suddenly, a crisis will save us. Then we’ll start dropping again,” he can be heard saying. 

He later said: “Lee Kuan Yew’s death saved us. Before Lee Kuan Yew’s death, 9/11 saved us.”

The audio was posted with the captions: “Leaked Audio: Chan Chun Sing said crisis will save PAP in the elections.”

Singaporeans go to the polls on Friday, two weeks after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for an election amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He had said that the situation in Singapore was “stable” and that there was no end in sight to the pandemic before the current government’s term ends unless a vaccine is available. 

Six months into the global pandemic, it has officially stricken 45,140 people and killed 26 in the city.

Addressing the audio, Chan said that he said those things in a private conversation after Malaysia imposed a restricted flying zone north of Seletar Airport.

Chan said he had also discussed the implications of Malaysia restricting airspace access north of Seletar Airport at the time as well as bilateral issues, but they were not captured in the audio published online. 

Back in February, a leaked audio of Chan calling COVID-19 panic buyers in Singapore “idiots” while throwing shade at Hong Kong over its handling of the outbreak circulated widely online and drew praise for his frank assessment. 


Other stories to check out:

Singlish-slinging minister praised for calling outbreak panic buyers ‘idiots’

GE2020: Here’s what’s different about Singapore’s election this time

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