Singapore needs to get serious on addressing racism

Year: 2020

In response to the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s repeated clarifications on misperceptions over the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), FMG CEO Devadas highlights that this is reflective of more severe, underlying systemic issues on race in Singapore:

“It is with regret that I note that the MTI has to repeatedly provide clarifications on the limits of the CECA.

It suggests that racism or racial chauvinism is entrenched in Singapore. Ethnic minorities in Singapore, whether Indian or Malay, depend on accommodation, understanding and acceptance by the ethnic majority, as explicitly stipulated under the Singapore Constitution. Speaking for myself, the social media and offline vitriol over CECA is actually a cover for racism in general, as all Indians in Singapore are increasingly treated as if they are here through the CECA arrangement, as I have experienced firsthand.

This is the ugly underbelly of Singapore, usually masked by superficial and contrived outward demonstrations of racial solidarity such as NDPs and compulsory Racial Harmony days. By no means do I mean that all Chinese exhibit this propensity. Indeed I think the overwhelming majority do not. We must deal with the minority that do.

The MRHA should be updated to include race and used. It is essentially moribund, as it has not been used since its introduction in 1990. Either get serious on race or race will get serious with you. That was the lesson of the race riots of the 1960s. The time for lip service is over and time for action is here.”