In a closed-door meeting with personal mobility device users, Minister of State Lam Pin Min and Goh Meng Seng engaged in a conversation over the recently PMD ban that started on November 5.
Food couriers all over the country have started attending Meet-the-People sessions to speak to the government about the PMD ban on footpaths, which makes the devices impossible to legally use for delivering food.
With Grabfood, Foodpanda, and Deliveroo being able to give thse food couriers a flexible way to earn money, a lot of them have expressed that they could earn as much as $4000 a month. But without the use of PMDs, some simply have no other way to earn money as food couriers, and have to look for other means of earning.
Goh Meng Seng’s questions
According to his own Facebook post, People’s Power Party leader Goh Meng Seng attended the Meet-the-People session and listened to the reasoning behind the PMD ban.
He also posed some questions to Lam Pin Min about the ban, after some encouragement from the PMD users in the meeting.
Here is the full text of his post, which he titled, “Gate Crashing Clueless Ministers.”
I have taken the trouble to “gate crash” two PAP Meet the People Sessions tonight due to persistent invitation by some FB friends.
The first one was at Blk 122 Toa Payoh where Mr Chee Hong Tat was holding his MPS. The PMD Delivery Riders had initially planned to visit Dr Ng Eng Heng’s MPS at Blk 178 Toa Payoh Central but he was no where to be found. Thus, they switched to Mr Chee’s MPS.
When I reached the venue, Mr Chee was just repeating he will reflect the riders’ views to Ministry of Transport (MOT) and asking those riders who need any help to see him at his MPS one by one. The riders got a bit impatient and frustrated because they want some assurance from their MP that he will do something about the situation.
I stepped in and spoke. I said most of the riders there are not seeking any financial help from him and they prefer to make their own decent living. They only wanted to know as their MP, what plans does he have in mind? Is he going to raise this issue in parliament? It is just that simple! He has no answer to that, totally clueless on what to do with the situation but seems to accuse of me of “making political points”. I said, this regards to the livelihood of all the people there…. (well yes, that’s politics.)
Apparently, all riders there were utterly disappointed with their MP.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on him because he is afterall, not the minister in charge of transport. But at the very least, he should assure his constituents he will represent their anxiety in parliament! That is actually the least he could do.
Well, after this uneventful encounter with Mr Chee, my FB friend messaged me to go to Anchorvale CC as there will be a bigger dialogue session with Dr Lam Pin Min.
Well I didn’t mind the long drive from Toa Payoh to Sengkang, so I went.
Dr Lam was ending his speech on why the decision of banning PMD from footpath was made when I arrived. He was responding to question when he kept saying that all other measures “suggested” (I suspect most of it come from my party’s position) of licensing and training “cannot guarantee 100% no accident”. He was going round and round about how the “ideal situation” of Zero Accident cannot be met and thus, MOT has no choice but to ban PMD from footpath.
I had heard him for 10 minutes and decided to respond. I said there is no “Ideal Situation” in this world. We have car accidents on the road everyday but do we ban all the vehicles on the road? There was an uproar.
I made the point that either you believe PMD will bring benefits to our society or not. If not, then ban it. If yes, look at measures to get it used safely. He insisted that he value PMD but I told him, what he said doesn’t tally with what he did… in banning it! Anyway, he wanted me to allow him to answer to his residents first, so I obliged.
I stood there and listen to his answers to the questions from the floor without interrupt. He went on and on about how the $7 million grant will help the food delivery riders to continue their work and earn their living.
Only when he had done with all other questions, I wanted to raise the last point but apparently he refused to answer my question. I asked all the riders at the dialogue whether they want me to ask the question?
There was a resounding YES.
Thus I ask my question despite knowing he won’t answer. I told him that he think he is doing good by giving out the $7 Million grant to all Food Delivery Riders to change from E Scooters to EBikes, but in actual fact, what he is doing is to put their lives to higher risk of getting hit and injured by cars on the road! There was an uproar of those present.
If he really care and talk about safety so much, why would he want to do that? He is banning E-Scooter now because he cannot have that “Ideal Situation” of Zero Accident, would he ban Ebikes again when there are fatal accidents again?
Of course, he didn’t reply… well, what could he reply?
This may really be a silly night but contrary to what Mothership reported, I didn’t “Heckle” Dr Lam Pin Min. He is Minister of State for goodness sake! Not some weaklings of some sort! I didn’t use “derisory” words against him at all! Just a matter of questions which he could hardly answer. If asking questions that KO a Minister could be regarded as “heckling”, then so be it.
In the post above, he said that he did not heckle the government official, unlike what other media outlets reported. He also said that he did not deride the minister.
In a report by The Stratis Times, Lam Pin Min said that the government is taking the views of the Grabfood couriers and other delivery persons seriously.
The government officials continue to reiterate that the $7 million grant that has been set up to defray the costs of
Grabfood and other service couriers disappointed
While the food couriers came in force and even had someone articulate speak for them in the form of Meng, they still left frustrated as the ban did not look like it was going to be lifted any time soon–if at all.
The food couriers and other PMD users were also disappointed with the grant, as some of them had bought the PMD just days before the ban was enforced, and had lost a lot of money.
One of them even posted a photo of a PMD user asking for help from a mental health institution because of how they bought the device just days before the sudden ban. For a lot of PMD users, it was an investment that they cannot recoup and would put them in very dire straights.