SINGAPORE - Dr Tan Cheng Bock, who leads the Progress Singapore Party, strongly urged the Government not to hold polls during the Covid-19 pandemic, even suggesting that a caretaker government could be formed if elections cannot be held by April 2021.
In a three-minute video put up on Facebook, Dr Tan said the release of the electoral boundaries report on Friday was an indication that an election was coming soon and he questioned if one should be held in the midst of the outbreak.
"During the campaign period, there will be rallies and many large group election activities being held. Is this a risk we want to take? There is this potential mass exposure to the virus," Dr Tan said.
"So, holding a general election at this time should not be considered. We should put politics aside. Take care of our people's health and welfare first," he added, pointing out that the United States and Britain have postponed elections so far.
He said he saw three options for the election, call the election after the crisis is over, call the election at the end of the term in April 2021, or form a caretaker government.
"If the pandemic is still with us by then (April 2021), the president can exercise her soft power and form a caretaker government consisting of some of the current MPs. Subsequently, call for fresh elections when Covid-19 is no longer a crisis."
Dr Tan's video comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post earlier in the day that the date of the next general election will depend on what will best see Singapore through the major crisis posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The timing of the election depends on the situation and the outlook, Mr Lee added.
Dr Tan's call echoes Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan's statement earlier in the day and statements from at least seven other opposition party chiefs made a day earlier.
Dr Chee said that the election should only be held after there are "clear signs that the (Covid-19) situation has abated".