MP Tan Wu Meng attacked during Meet-the-People session, suffers minor injuries
SINGAPORE: Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng was attacked by a man at a Meet-the-People (MPS) session in Clementi on Monday night (Apr 16).
Dr Tan told Channel NewsAsia that he was at the session when a man rushed in and started hitting him with his fists at about 10pm.
"A young man suddenly rushed into the interview area and started hitting me," he said. "The young man was in the queue, for some reason he suddenly rushed in and started hitting me.
"It was very sudden. I was actually interviewing another resident, the next thing I knew someone was hitting me and I fell to the floor."
Volunteers and residents present pulled the man off the MP and restrained him, the People’s Action Party MP told Channel NewsAsia.
The police were called and were at the scene shortly along with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), said Dr Tan.
"The police and SCDF advised me (that) I should go to A&E (Accident and Emergency department) to see a doctor," he said. "After being assessed medically at A&E, the doctor was agreeable to let me return to finish up my Meet-the-People session."
Dr Tan said he suffered bruises on an arm and "some abrasions" on his neck, but said that these were minor injuries.
He returned to the Meet-the-People session just before midnight to finish writing appeal letters.
"We don't know (the identity of the young man) - he is not a regular visitor," added Dr Tan.
"My main concern at the time was making sure the residents and volunteers were safe and I also hope that the young man ... I hope he can get help to try and find his way back."
He added that the police have taken his statement. Police have confirmed investigations are ongoing.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday about the incident, Dr Tan said he had written an appeal letter for the man on Monday night.
"The young man who attacked me had given a preliminary indication about his troubles during registration, and had brought some documentation about the problems he faced. I wrote an appeal for him last night too," he said.
"Whatever the outcome under the law, I hope he can get back on track and will try to help him do so," Dr Tan added.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also an MP at Jurong GRC, said that the incident was unfortunate and "completely unacceptable".
"Dr Tan Wu Meng and his volunteers handled it well. Police are investigating. But as Wu Meng says, we will find a way to help this young man get back in life eventually," he wrote in a Facebook post.
"I know Wu Meng puts much personal effort into every individual case, every resident who needs support. He will not be deterred."
People's Action Party Organising Secretary Chan Chun Sing said that the police have since arrested the man who assaulted Dr Tan.
In a statement Mr Chan, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, urged the public "not to speculate and to leave the matter to the relevant authorities".
He also praised Dr Tan's "calm handling" of the incident, which he said helped to reassure the MP's volunteers and residents.
"This is a stark reminder of the risks that our MPs have to manage in the course of our public duties," Mr Chan said. "We would also like to thank our many volunteers who work tirelessly as a team to serve our residents and take care of each other."
This is not the first time a serving MP has been attacked.
In 2009, former MP for Yio Chu Kang Seng Han Thong suffered burns to his face, neck and back after flammable liquid was thrown on him during an event at Yio Chu Kang Community Club.
Ong Kah Chua, a 70-year-old former taxi driver, had poured thinner on Mr Seng before setting him alight.
Mr Seng was also attacked in 2006, when a 74-year-old man punched him during a Meet-the-People session. Koo Tong Huat wanted Mr Seng’s help in reinstating his revoked taxi licence.