Problems affecting Malay community wider than perceived

17 May 2004

9 May 2004

Dr Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party,

Dear Dr Chee,


I read with interest Dr Chee Soon Juan’s impromptu participation at the US forum delivered by Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Dr. Chee’s courage to stand up for the minority’s right by questioning PM Goh during the forum can best be described as righteous, brave and justified. PM Goh seemed to extol himself as an expert in handling Muslim affairs, hence a leading commentator in handling the Muslim population. Have his Muslim citizens excelled themselves to the extent that he can now advise others on how to manage the Muslims?

Surely someone must have briefed him on the social ills affecting his own Muslim community. If not, let me refresh his memory. In terms of percentage against the national population, the Singapore Muslims under his government now enjoys the highest divorce rate, highest inmates in both male and female prisons, highest inmates in all drug rehabilitation centers, highest unemployment and underemployment rate, highest inmate in juvenile detention centers, lowest percentage of students’ intake in local universities and many more undisclosed repulsive figures. This is just a tip of the iceberg.

Dr. Chee is right to suggest that, if left unattended, these social ills can breed terrorism or even transform restless and frustrated mind into physical violence against the state.

The government’s handling on these issue borders between imbecility and ludicrousness – appointing fellow Muslim citizen as stooges to stand as their representatives, thus calling themselves “Muslim Leaders” and setting up government-controlled societies in the name of helping its citizens along racial lines. With one swoop, they have brushed it all under the carpet.

It is ironic that that they claimed to practice meritocracy where evidently none exist. Jobs in the local Straits Times blatantly seek for Chinese speaking applicants, virtually every matters dealing with government-related agencies requires the applicant to declare their race, language and religion – from applying for a driver’s license to running a public toilet.

The real issue affecting the Muslim community spreads wider than perceived.

The most crucial issue is to allow the Muslim community to join the mainstream and release the shackles of discrimination against employment and education – the very ingredients needed for the community to progress. The Muslims do not need special privileges or assistance – all they asked is a level playing field.

Dr Chee was right to point out the inadequacy of the PAP’s policy towards the minority. PM Goh speech smacks hypocrisy and typifies the proverb pots calling the kettle black. Dr Chee has indeed spoken for us and we owe him our gratitude.

Thank you.


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