Speaking to the media yesterday at a press conference to introduce the Singapore Democratic Party’s first batch of candidates, Dr Chee said the party is contesting in Sembawang GRC partly because of the insensitivity of Mr Khaw who is the anchor minister in the constituency.
‘I mean, can you believe a minister would come and tell Singaporeans: Why don’t you send your parents to Johor Baru?’ he said.
Mr Khaw subsequently said Dr Chee’s comments were ‘total fabrication’.
“I was merely making a comment, because I happened to visit a nursing home in Johor Baru and the cost there, to be expected, was very low, very much cheaper than Singapore’s. I suppose they saw advantage in putting words in my mouth or twisting my words.”
In an article titled ‘Living in nursing homes in JB?’ published in the Straits Times on 10 February 2009, Mr Khaw reportedly suggested that Singaporeans could consider living in nursing homes in neighbouring Johor Baru as “it would be cheaper, yet be near enough to Singapore for family members to visit and for residents to return for medical care if necessary.”
Mr Khaw added that “ormost Singaporeans, visiting a relative in a Johor Baru nursing home would not pose significant difficulties.”
“Of course many visit daily, but quite a significant number visit only during the weekends, so what is the difference in putting them in Johor Baru?” he quipped.
Was Mr Khaw misquoted by Straits Times? It is strange that Straits Times did not republish Mr Khaw’s quotes in the article to give the erroneous perception that Dr Chee has indeed ‘twisted’ Mr Khaw’s words.
Mr Khaw should step forward and clarify what he said in 2009 instead of accusing others of putting words in his mouth as most readers will have the impression that he is asking Singaporeans to live in nursing homes in JB based on the Straits Times report.