Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ministers given expedited clearance at checkpoints

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin takes Workers' Party MP Png Eng Huat to task for 'stirring hate'
Mr Png (above) had objected to expedited clearance at Tuas checkpoint for Mr Tan & group travelling in the same bus

Social & Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said Workers' Party (WP) MP Png Eng Huat was "stirring hate and anger" when he questioned why Mr Tan and a group of grassroots members with him were given expedited clearance at the Tuas checkpoint on Sunday evening.

Hougang MP Png had said on his FaceBook page on Monday that he & his residents, who had travelled to Johor for durians, had to wait in line "for hours" but saw Mr Tan and some of those with him being allowed to use a counter specially opened for them.

"One of my residents is 89 years old and another was injured during the tour. If these two elderly residents can wait in the queue patiently ........ so can all my volunteers and grassroots members," wrote Mr Png.


Png Eng Huat ‘stirring hate and anger’ with Facebook post: Tan Chuan-Jin

Minister for Social & Family Development Tan Chuan Jin said on Tuesday (Jul 19) that Hougang Member of Parliament Png Eng Huat was “stirring hate and anger” in a FaceBook post about how Mr Tan and his entourage were given expedited clearance at the immigration checkpoint at Tuas.

On Sunday, Mr Tan and a group of residents and volunteers returning from a durian trip to Johor Bahru were able to skip the immigration queue. In a Facebook post on Monday, Mr Png wrote that he too, had been at the checkpoint with his residents after a trip to Desaru, and that they were among other travellers at who had had “to wait patiently for hours for their turn”. Mr Png added that one of his residents was 89 years old and another had been injured during the tour.

The opposition Workers’ Party MP wrote: “If these 2 elderly residents can wait in queue patiently for their turn, so can all my volunteers and grassroots members.”


Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

But the purpose of his post, and that of his compatriots, was clear. It was not about the old folks. It was aimed at stirring hate and anger, not only to be directed at me, which I can understand politically, but also at my residents and volunteers (who organised as well as helped guide each bus), as well as our officers who secure our borders. It's unfortunate that he and his colleagues chose to politicise the issue.

Mr Png knows that it is standard procedure, all around the world, that Ministers, both from the home country and from visiting countries, get facilitated through immigration. When our Ministers visit overseas officially, they get facilitated, and likewise when Ministers from overseas visit us, they also get facilitated.

And oh, by the way, any traveler who requires special assistance can approach our ICA officers on duty. I believe it is more effective and real to assist our fellow Singaporeans in this way.


Hougang MP Png Eng Huat has responded to the Minister in his Facebook
  • “The post wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about the Minister either. It’s about the treatment of grassroots leaders travelling with the Minister. I understand that is a judgment call for ICA to make, according to its statement.
  • I wasn’t even interested in my own wait time but since ICA and Minister Tan seem to suggest that the wait time to clear custom on the night of 17 July was “all of 30 mins” only, why was there a need to accord the people travelling with the Minister expedited clearance then?
  • The system must be seen to be fair. The issue is not about Minister Tan. The expedited clearance for him comes with the position he is holding and for security reason. My volunteers worked very hard too. Some buses were missing a few passengers as they were still queuing and the buses did not leave the checkpoint until way past 11pm. I am sure some of the PA buses experienced that too. I have no doubt our officers worked very hard to secure our borders too. In fact, I believe they worked a lot harder because the Minister was there.
  • I cannot control how people feel. I am also on the receiving end of hate and anger for bringing this issue out in the open. I don’t have an issue with Minister Tan, personally or politically. I have an issue with inequality.”


Leon Perera Facebook

I was surprised to read Minister Tan Chuan-Jin's reply to Mr Png Eng Huat's post on queueing at the JB checkpoint, which stated that the post was "aimed at stirring hate and anger." Mr Png's post was a reflection on his experience of seeing some grassroots leaders and residents receiving expedited clearance. It was not inflammatory. Tomorrow is Singapore's Racial Harmony Day. We celebrate it at a time when some prominent voices around the world are calling for hatred and anger against those who are not like them. Surely we should apply such strong labels as "stirring hate and anger" only to those few dangerous individuals who are really seeking to do that.


NCMP Leon Perera surprised at Minister Tan’s claim of “stirring hate and anger”

Non-constituency Member of Parliament, Leon Perera says that he is surprised at Minister Tan Chuan-Jin's claim of "stirring hate and anger" on Mr Png Eng Huat's Facebook posting about the special clearance at the Tuas Immigration Checkpoint and suggest that such labels should only be applied to few dangerous individuals who are really seeking to do that.

Mr Perera wrote on his Facebook page, "I was surprised to read Minister Tan Chuan-Jin's reply to Mr Png Eng Huat's post on queueing at the JB checkpoint, which stated that the post was "aimed at stirring hate and anger." Mr Png's post was a reflection on his experience of seeing some grassroots leaders and residents receiving expedited clearance. It was not inflammatory."

Earlier on Monday, the MP for Hougang noted in his Facebook page that a counter was opened specially for Minister Tan who was also in Malaysia to join his residents for a tour on July 17.


WP LEON PERERA: DOES TAN CHUAN-JIN KNOW THE MEANING OF "STIRRING HATE & ANGER"?

In response to the inflammatory post by Minister Tan Chuan-Jin accusing Mr Png Eng Huat of "stirring hate and anger" against him and his residents, Worker's Party Leon Perera has given his view on Facebook today at 2.12PM:
  • "I was surprised to read Minister Tan Chuan-Jin's reply to Mr Png Eng Huat's post on queueing at the JB checkpoint, which stated that the post was "aimed at stirring hate and anger."
  • Mr Png's post was a reflection on his experience of seeing some grassroots leaders and residents receiving expedited clearance. It was not inflammatory.
  • Tomorrow is Singapore's Racial Harmony Day. We celebrate it at a time when some prominent voices around the world are calling for hatred and anger against those who are not like them.
  • Surely we should apply such strong labels as "stirring hate and anger" only to those few dangerous individuals who are really seeking to do that."


If nothing wrong with expedited ICA clearance, why Minister Tan so upset?

Minister Tan Chuan Jin’s FB post has attempted to throw lots of smoke and miss the elephant in the room.

Tan could have clarified in a calm manner befitting a minister and this would have won him some respect. Instead, he chose to lash out at WP MP Png’s earlier FB post.

According to Tan, “ICA facilitated the clearance for me and my security officers…as well as the residents and volunteers …on the bus”. In short, a busload of ordinary citizens were given preferential treatment by ICA.


Minister Tan: Unfortunate for Mr Png and colleagues to politicise the special clearance for him and his grassroots

Minister Tan Chuan-Jin hits back at reports about him and his grassroots leaders being given special clearance at Tuas Immigration Checkpoint on Jul 17, and said that it is unfortunate that MP for Hougang, Mr Png Eng Huat and his colleagues chose to politicise the issue.

The Minister for Social and Family Development said in a Facebook posting on July 19 that he joined his residents on a one-day durian trip to JB on Sunday as well as to make an official visit to the Deputy Home Affairs Minister's Hari Raya Open House. He added that he travelled by bus so that he could be with his residents and volunteers during the trip.

Just yesterday, Mr Png noted in his Facebook post that a counter was opened specially for Minister Tan who was also in Malaysia to join his residents for a tour. He added that while most people in the queue probably did not mind the counter being specially opened for Minister Tan as being a Minister does come with privileges, it is somewhat unacceptable that an entourage of grassroots leaders and members with shopping bags in tow also enjoyed the privilege of fast clearance at the custom without needing to join the crowd.


Minister Tan Chuan Jin defame Opposition MP for backlash over biased treatment

After facing intense criticism over his lack of etiquette for cutting a 30-min-long queue, Minister Tan Chuan Jin broke his silence pointing his finger at Opposition MP Png Eng Huat blaming him for stirring hatred and anger.

Earlier on Sunday (July 17), the Social and Family Affairs Minister cut the queue entering Singapore at the Tua Checkpoint despite having went on an non-official trip. His bus was given “expedited clearance” by the Singapore immigration officers. The Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) claimed that such biased treatment for PAP Ministers is “normal” because Malaysian royalty were given similar treatment too.

However, Minister Tan Chuan Jin’s queue-cutting antic faced intense backlash on social media platforms with many criticising him for the lack of manners to queue like everyone else did. Embarrassed by the public backlash, Minister Tan today hurriedly wrote a new note “explaining” his position and complained that the Opposition MP Png Eng Huat is making a big fuss just because of a 30 minutes wait.


WHY DID MIN TAN CHUAN JIN OPT TO EXERCISE HIS EXPEDITED CLEARANCE?

And it is interesting to note that Minister Tan and the bus he was on had their clearance expedited while the rest of the nineteen buses were patiently waiting in line. With you, For you ends at the customs and starts after I have cleared it expeditiously.

Mr Png was said to have taken 30 minutes to clear the customs but he spent the next hour or so helping his bus leaders to locate his residents. He was pacing up and down, looking out for them.

The question is knowing full well that he would receive expedited clearance while his residents on the rest of the nineteen buses would not, why did he opted to exercise his privilege as a Minister. General Tan Chuan Jin would understand the leadership ethos in the SAF of "first-in, last-out", "leave no man behind." The platoon is only as fast as the slowest guy.



Action of minister compromised vigilance and mindset of border agencies

By your action, you have compromised the vigilance and mindset of our border agencies if they were to apply this across the board for all senior government officials. You know, monkey see, monkey do. You have set a decidedly BAD example.

Your action is wrong on more than one count.

The privilege accorded to you as a minister does not and should not automatically apply or to be rubbed off to others (apart from your security officers) who were travelling with you for the following reasons:
  • The group members were not public officials nor were they on official government duty...
  • It was a political party outing organised by the PAP. PAP is NOT synonymous with the Singapore government...
  • It is wrong and dangerous to expect the border agency to allow any tom, dick and harry who happened to accompany you to cross over with the same privilege...
  • What if some of the grassroots members take advantage of the opportunity...
  • Such an open abuse of privilege (and power) demeans the government of which you are a senior member...


WP’s Png Eng Huat and Minister Tan Chuan-Jin spat over expedited clearance at Tuas

Reacting to Png’s Facebook post, Tan hit back saying the Hougang MP’s post was “aimed at stirring hate and anger”.

He also pointed out that Png failed to mention that he waited only 30 minutes to clear immigration and that ICA officers were on hand to help any Singaporeans who needed special assistance.

Png responded to Tan’s Facebook post at around 9 pm on Tuesday saying he understands this was a judgement call by the ICA, but at the same time questioned why Tan’s entourage needed to be expedited if the wait time was “all of 30 minutes only”.“I cannot control how people feel. I am also on the receiving end of hate and anger for bringing this issue out in the open. I don’t have an issue with Minister Tan, personally or politically. I have an issue with inequality,” Png said.


Minister Tan accused Png of stirring hate and anger towards Tan’s grassroots

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development, has responded to opposition MP Png Eng Huat’s allegations that immigration opened a special lane just to clear Tan Chuan-Jin’s grassroots.

Mr Tan acknowledged that on the return journey, ICA facilitated the clearance for him and his security officers who were carrying firearms, as well as the residents and volunteers who were with him on his bus.

Referring to Mr Png’s post Mr Tan said, “I had the impression Mr Png waited a very long time…He carefully omits to mention that he waited for all of 30 mins.”


Minister snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

Given the ICA statement, Tan should have taken the high moral ground and asked if Png expected that only he the minister be given expedited clearance, while the rest of the passengers on the bus he was on, cleared the check point like other plebs?

He also had the high moral ground that he was in M’sia on an official visit to the M’sian Deputy Home Affairs Minister’s Hari Raya open house. As a minister on official duty, he would be entitled to a govt car etc.

But he took a bus.


Tan Chuan Jin and Png Eng Huat

Tan Chuan Jin questioned the motive of Png Eng Huat and his supporters politicising the incident when it is a well-known fact that ministers (no matter which country you are from) were given priority clearance together with their armed security personnel.

He wanted to know what is the issue here since his mode of transport was the bus in which 20 of his grassroots leaders were in and only his bus was given the expedited clearance while the rest of his entourage (19 other buses) had to queue just like Png Eng Huat.

It was petty and the issue was really going nowhere. It took a  brave should in HardwareZone to comment and put it into perspective, summing it all up  – Narrow minded Opposition MP complained about Minister being given priority clearance on FB


Normal practice for ministers to be given expedited clearance at checkpoints: ICA

It is normal practice for the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to give expedited clearance to ministers, ICA said on Tuesday (Jul 19) in response to media queries.

ICA also confirmed that Minister for Family and Social Development Tan Chuan-Jin was travelling with 20 bus loads of people, who were his residents and grassroots leaders, on Sunday (Jul 17) when he, his security officers and the other passengers in his bus were given clearance, without having to queue, at the Tuas Checkpoint at around 9:20pm.

The passengers in the other 19 buses were cleared through the normal channels, ICA added.


Immigration & Checkpoints Authority Facebook
ICA STATEMENT ON CLEARANCE FOR MINISTERS

In response to queries, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) confirms that:
  1. On 17 July, Minister Tan Chuan-Jin was travelling with 20 bus loads of people, who were his residents and grassroots leaders.
  2. Minister Tan, his security officers and the other passengers in his bus were given clearance, without having to queue, at the Tuas Checkpoint on 17 July at around 9.20pm.
  3. The passengers in the other 19 buses (who were with Minister Tan) were cleared through the normal channels. They joined the queue.
  4. At that time, Mr Png Eng Huat was also at Tuas. Records show that he was there for about 30 minutes, and was cleared through immigration.
  5. It is normal practice for ICA to give expedited clearance to Ministers, on both sides of the Causeway as well as members of the Malaysian royalty. Where they travel with others in a group, ICA officers will use their judgment on the clearance process.


PNG ENG HUAT Facebook
  • “The durians were not the only bad thing we encountered during the 1-Day Desaru Tour yesterday.
  • Upon returning home, both immigration checkpoints were overwhelmed. In the midst of waiting patiently to clear the Singapore custom, suddenly there was a commotion and a certain excitement in the air. Many tired travellers were relieved to see another counter opened but to their dismay, it was only to allow Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to clear as he had joined his residents for a day of outing and fun too.
  • Most people in the queue probably did not mind that as being a Minister does come with privileges. However, along with him, an entourage of grassroots leaders and members with shopping bags in tow also enjoyed the privilege of fast clearance at the custom without needing to join the crowd. No one else could use that counter.
  • In the long queue at the immigration check point yesterday were many travellers, some of whom are old and tired, but they all had to wait patiently for hours for their turn.
  • One of my residents is 89 years old and another was injured during the tour. If these two elderly residents can wait in queue patiently for their turns, so can all my volunteers and grassroots members. After all, we are supposed to enjoy a day of fun TOGETHER. No one should not be accorded more ‘fun’.
  • The chaos, anger and confusion at the Tuas Immigration check point certainly made us forget how bad the durians were yesterday, and how bad the system needs to change.”

read more

Chen Jiaxi Bernard Facebook

We probably need to ask other than expedited clearance at the customs, what are the other privileges accorded to Ministers in Singapore. I think Singaporeans ought to know.

And it is interesting to note that Minister Tan and the bus he was on had their clearance expedited while the rest of the nineteen buses were patiently waiting in line. With you, For you ends at the customs and starts after I have cleared it expeditiously.

Mr Png was said to have taken 30 minutes to clear the customs but he spent the next hour or so helping his bus leaders to locate his residents. He was pacing up and down, looking out for them.


read more

WP’s Png Eng Huat highlights minister’s special privileges at checkpoint, ICA responds

“It is normal practice for ICA to give expedited clearance to Ministers, on both sides of the Causeway as well as members of the Malaysian royalty”, a spokesperson for the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) told Mothership.sg.

This was in response to our queries following Workers’ Party MP Png Eng Huat’s Facebook post, where he expressed frustration at the privileges accorded to Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and his “entourage of grassroots leaders and members” at Tuas immigration checkpoint last Sunday (July 17) after his one-day Desaru tour.

In the FB post, Png added that no one else could use that counter at the checkpoint. However, ICA also said that when the ministers travel with others in a group, its officers will use their judgment on the clearance process.

read more

WP Png Eng Huat fumes at special treatment given to PAP Tan Chuan Jin and co at immigration checkpoint
It was a bad durian day for WP’s Png Eng Huat, according to his FB post

The Hougang MP had gone on a 1-Day Desaru Tour with residents yesterday (highlight of the trip was probably the eating of durians). But apparently, the durians were bad.

Another episode on his way back home made Mr Png’s day even worse. At the Tuas immigration checkpoint, Mr Png bumped into Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who was also on his way back from an outing with residents.

To Mr Png’s dismal, a special counter was opened to Minister Tan and his entourage, while Mr Png, his entourage and other Singaporean travelers had to queue and wait for their turn.

read more

Immigration opened special lane just to clear Tan Chuan-Jin’s grassroots

Member of Parliament for Hougang, Png Eng Huat, shared in his Facebook about the dismay his residents and him felt when the Customs and Immigrations Checkpoint at Tuas opened a special lane during an extremely busy period, just for Minister for Family and Social Development Tan Chuan-Jin and his entourage of grassroots leaders.

The incident happened yesterday (17 Jul) when the opposition MP was returning to Singapore with his residents after a 1-Day Desaru Tour. The MP explained that initially many tired travellers were relieved to see another counter being opened. But it turned to dismay when they discovered that it was only to allow Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to clear.

Minister Tan, who is the MP for Marine Parade GRC like Mr Png, had joined his residents for a day of outing and fun in Malaysia.

related:
While WP MP went out of way to help his residents, Minister Tan abandoned his
It is normal for ICA to give expedited clearance to Ministers, possibly others with them
Did immigration open special lane for Minister Tan to facilitate arms clearance?

read more

ICA should use discretion in clearing ministers at immigration checkpoint

  • Ahmad: ICA now cakap “normal to give clearance at Causeway for ministers”. But in this case it should have used discretion and not give Tan Chuan Jin preferential treatment.
  • Paul Lampard: But he is a minister so why cannot?
  • Ah Kow: Hello, PLP. What you talking about? Paper general not going on official visit but having “a day of outing and fun” with his residents” la.
  • Arumugam: Unless he was on an official visit, there would be no issue. But going on an outing is ridiculous! What kind of stupid law do we have?
  • Ah Kow: Ya. Then what if he wants to go JB shopping with his whole family and relatives also hire a bus? Not unfair to everyone in the queue, some waiting for a few hours, meh? Every minister leaving Singapore for leisure should join the queue like any citizen.
  • Paul Lampard: But if a minister joins the queue, isn’t he a sitting duck for terrorists
  • Arumugam: Then sitting like a duck on our side of the Causeway or in JB, which is safer? What do you think?
  • Ahmad: Also doesn’t make sense to clear one bus and make the 19 buses wait right? Why paper general go JB one hour earlier and wait for his residents there? Oogle at ‘minahs’ isit? Haha
  • Arumugam: When a CEO goes on a company trip, will he insist on going to the VIP lounge while the rank and file makan at the food court? I think everyone should be traveling together regardless of status.
  • Ah Kow: But Singapore is different and one minister long long time ago already told Singaporeans high is not low, below is not above. No wonder Singaporeans KPKB about our double standard system!
  • Paul Lampard: OK, OK. I understand what you all are talking about now. ICA should have used discretion and take into account the purpose of Tan Chuan Jin’s visit. If to makan durians with 20 busloads of “my type of people”, then he should wait in line. If to visit royalty or official work, then it’s fair to expedite clearance. I will feedback this to the government.

read more

PAP Ministers are like Malaysian royalty, no queue or check required

The Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) defended its decision to give biased treatment to Minister Tan Chuan Jin today (July 19) that it is “normal practice” to give clearance to PAP Ministers like members of the Malaysian royalty.

“It is normal practice for ICA to give expedited clearance to Ministers, on both sides of the Causeway as well as members of the Malaysian royalty. Where they travel with others in a group, ICA officers will use their judgment on the clearance process.”


The PAP Minister of Social and Family Affairs was travelling on the bus towards Singapore with a bus load of 20 people, mostly his PAP grassroots leaders. The bus Minister Tan Chuan Jin was on, was allowed to cut the long queue at Tuas Checkpoint by the Singapore ICA custom officers. Incidentally, Opposition MP Png Eng Huat was also a bus trip at the vicinity. Like other private vehicles, his bus queued for more than 30 minutes to cross the bridge.

read more

Customs opened special lane for Tan Chuan-Jin and his grassroots volunteers?

In the long queue at the immigration check point yesterday were many travellers, some of whom are old and tired, but they all had to wait patiently for hours for their turn.

One of my residents is 89 years old and another was injured during the tour.  If these two elderly residents can wait in queue patiently for their turns, so can all my volunteers and grassroots members.  After all, we are supposed to enjoy a day of fun TOGETHER.  No one should not be accorded more ‘fun’.

The chaos, anger and confusion at the Tuas Immigration check point certainly made us forget how bad the durians were yesterday, and how bad the system needs to change.

read more

Ah Huat: Wrong of Customs to Allow Tan Chuan-Jin and Grassroots Kakis to Cut Queue
Png Eng Huat isn’t just dissatisfied with his Malaysia durians

The Workers’ Party MP for Hougang GRC is also very unhappy that Singapore customs cleared the way for PAP MP and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin and his “entourage of grassroots leaders and members with shopping bags” on the way home.

In a Facebook post, Ah Huat said that it isn’t right for the Minister Tan to “cut queue” at the expense of others, especially the elderly:

“The durians were not the only bad thing we encountered during the 1-Day Desaru Tour yesterday.

related: Tan Chuan-Jin Cut Queue at Customs, & Png Eng Huat is a Great Exaggerator

read more