Indranee Rajah sets record straight on Tiong Bahru walkabout encounter

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah has refuted an online post that claimed she "hurried away" from a couple during her monthly walkabout at Tiong Bahru market.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah has refuted an online post that claimed she "hurried away" from a couple during her monthly walkabout at Tiong Bahru market.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE -Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah has come out to set the record straight on an account of her walkabout that has been circulating online.

Ms Indranee, an MP in Tanjong Pagar GRC, said in a Facebook post that she conducted her monthly walkabout at Tiong Bahru market on Sunday (July 1).

Among the people she met there was an older couple.

"The wife was friendly. The husband said he preferred not to be disturbed, a decision which I respected and hence smiled and moved on," she wrote.

However, she noted that "somewhat oddly", an online article surfaced soon after her walkout, purporting to set out a whole conversation which allegedly took place after the husband said he did not want to be disturbed.

The article she was referring to was likely a Facebook post by a user who said that when Ms Indranee introduced herself to the older couple, the husband had said: "I don't care who you are and I don't want to be disturbed when I am having my meal."

According to that post, Ms Indranee then asked the man whether he was Singaporean or Malaysian.

The man was said to have replied: "I am a born and bred true blue Singaporean and I am in deep thoughts about the second tranche of water price increase of 15 per cent and the 6.9 per cent of electricity tariffs increases starting today."

The post went on to say that Ms Indranee "hurried away" after that.

Refuting this account, Ms Indranee: "Since I had moved on once he said he did not want to be disturbed, there was no opportunity for further conversation."

She also noted that while many people at the hawker centre are regular patrons living in the neighbourhood, many are also from elsewhere in Singapore or visiting from abroad.

She usually asks where they are from to get a sense of their profiles, she added.

"I have learned however not to be deterred by such online things," said Ms Indranee, who is also Second Minister for Finance and Education.

"Being on the ground and reaching out to people is what all MPs must do."