PSP's Brad Bowyer questions need for virus curbs, drawing criticism

Progress Singapore Party member Brad Bowyer has questioned the need for mask wearing and other measures.
Progress Singapore Party member Brad Bowyer has questioned the need for mask wearing and other measures.

Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Brad Bowyer has questioned the need for the wearing of masks and social distancing measures to continue, drawing rebuke from his fellow party mate for his "irresponsible" comments.

Mr Bowyer, who contested the general election earlier this year as part of the PSP's team in Nee Soon GRC, also expressed his distrust in Covid-19 vaccines in a Facebook post last Thursday.

On Saturday, fellow PSP member Kala Manickam, who also stood for election in Nee Soon GRC, criticised Mr Bowyer's post in a comment.

Ms Manickam said she was disappointed that Mr Bowyer was trivialising the Covid-19 crisis, adding: "Being a Covid-19 survivor, I am extremely disturbed by the misinformation and fear you are spreading."

She told The Straits Times that she tested positive for Covid-19 on Aug 27. She was her mother's approved caregiver during a 14-day quarantine her mother served after returning from India on Aug 14. Her mother also tested positive on Aug 26.

Ms Manickam said in her comment on Mr Bowyer's post that while there were gaps in communication from the Government in the early months of the outbreak, she believed it has "generally done well in the past few months since the election".

The compulsory wearing of masks, social distancing and calibrated reopening of the economy are important measures to safeguard the community, she added.

"In the midst of a public health pandemic, we should not spread conspiracy theories on vaccines like what you are doing here," she said. "We have to follow the lead of the Government and health professionals to keep our people safe. Surely the economy cannot be more important than human beings."

In his post, Mr Bowyer questioned why Singapore was not able to enter phase three of its reopening earlier instead of on Dec 28, given that there have been "virtually no new cases in the community for months".

He also criticised the Government for "pushing experimental vaccines with known side effects", claiming that the threat of Covid-19 is "virtually zero" and that the disease is unlikely to require "serious treatment".

Mr Bowyer said the authorities should instead promote "healthy lifestyles, exercising in the sun, nutrition and other natural immune-system-boosting activities" to protect people from Covid-19 and future viruses.

In response, Ms Manickam said: "I am alarmed at your recent posts on the topic because I stood with you as a candidate in Nee Soon GRC... I believe the party has to distance itself from your dangerous opinions."

Mr Bowyer has also made two other Facebook posts last week, questioning the need to wear masks as a form of protection against Covid-19, as well as the reliability of the Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test, which is used to detect an infection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2020, with the headline 'PSP's Brad Bowyer questions need for virus curbs, drawing criticism'. Print Edition | Subscribe