Photo of Chee Hong Tat from Ngau Kai Yan CNA

Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat’s lack of vocabulary for a crisis-management team raised eyebrows and even jokes among media reporters when he mentioned “SWAT team”. The Minister was responding to media enquiries about the slew of high-profile infection outbreaks including the Hepatitis C in SGH, red eye syndrome in KKH and tuberculous outbreak in NUH. Minister Chee Hong Tat, a former civil servant with the trade ministry, said that a national-level “SWAT team” comprising of experts from both public and private sector, is needed to manage infection outbreaks.

Perhaps unbeknownst to the Minister, SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics, and usually refer to an elite force of police officers armed with special combat skills and high-power weapons. What Minister Chee Hong Tat wanted is an infection crisis management team, not a “SWAT team”.