Finance Minister Lawrence Wong’s speech at the IPS-RSIS forum appears to shift the blame of inherent systemic racism to the Singaporeans.
Or, in short, it’s always our fault.
Mr Wong says Singaporeans cannot accept a minority as Prime Minister.
From 2016 to 2021, in numerous public polls, a vast majority of Singaporeans have been calling for former DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam to lead the country.
It is the PAP that chose otherwise, not Singaporeans.
Mr Wong says that more open dialogue is needed.
When Singaporeans roundly rejected a Reserved Election for the presidency, the PAP-led government shoved this down our throats and even changed the Constitution.
When Singaporeans urged the government to “allow” female Muslims to wear the tudung as part of their uniform, the government hid behind the veil of closed-door dialogues.
We never got to hear what transpired behind those doors.
Where is the open dialogue?
Mr Wong talks about how Singaporeans must accommodate New Citizens so they can integrate in our society.
Did the government not think that New Citizens should be well-integrated first, before they are given full citizenship?
On the topic of GRCs – Singaporeans do not want a system that promotes token minority representation.
We have witnessed the late Mr JB Jeyaretnam’s win in 1981 in Anson SMC and more recently, Mr Murali Pillai’s Bukit Batok SMC victories.
These minority candidates were voted in by the public at large.
Mr Wong talks about racial discrimination in the rental market.
Yet, he forgets that it is the PAP-led government that came up with the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) with regards to public housing.
And the EIP appears now to be putting ethnic minorities at a financial disadvantage.
The SDA is of the opinion that Mr Wong and the PAP are cherry-picking and playing up isolated incidents of racist behaviour to suit their purposes.
When, deeper systemic issues that are of much concern to Singaporeans are simply swept aside.
This must stop.
It causes more fear, resentment and division among Singaporeans of all races.
The SDA is a coalition between the Singapore Justice Party (SJP) and the Singapore Malay National Organization (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Singapura, or PKMS).
We have kept this inter-racial bond of trust and friendship for twenty years.
Because, we know that to build a better Singapore we need to join arms regardless of race or religion, engage in constructive debate within our own party, and involve all Singaporeans in our quest for change.
Racism must be tackled, and offenders punished.
Similarly, broader systemic issues that sow the seeds of racial discrimination must be addressed.
As the SDA always says – fix problems, not people.
Singaporeans share this sentiment.
But is the ivory tower listening?
SDA Chairman’s Office