Seng Han Thong’s offensive comment reflection of PAP outlook

December 24, 2011
Singapore Democrats

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The SDP calls on the PAP to reject racism and other forms of discrimination and genuinely embrace cultural diversity instead of merely paying lip-service to it.Singapore Democrats

PAP Member of Parliament Mr Seng Han Thong’s racially offensive remarks about woes of train service breakdowns made worse by Malay and Indian SMRT employees’ because of their poor command of the English language of is a symptom of a larger problem within the ruling party.

The Singapore Democrats made a statement on The Online Citizen recently regarding Mr Jason Neo when the Young PAP member had posted a photograph of a Muslim kindergarten bus and captioned it: “Bus filled with young terrorist trainees?”

In that statement, the SDP said that Mr Neo’s offensive comment was a reflection of an underlying problem within the leadership of the PAP.

In 1992, former PAP MP Mr Choo Wee Khiang said: “One evening, I drove to Little India and it was pitch dark but not because there was no light, but because there were too many Indians around.”

Such sentiment may well stem from the party leader’s outlook. In 2010 Mr Lee Kuan Yew said: “Well, we make them say the national pledge and sing the national anthem but suppose we have a famine, will your Malay neighbour give you the last few grains of rice or will she share it with her family or fellow Muslim or vice versa?”

Mr Seng’s remarks is just the latest in a series of racially offensive statements made by the PAP’s leadership as well as rank-and-file.

Such a bigoted predisposition has translated into discrimination in public policy: Malays are still not allowed to serve in key positions in the military, there are quotas for ethnic minorities living in HDB estates, and self-help groups are divided along racial lines. Even our Identity Cards identify citizens by race.

Singaporeans For Democracy recently made a submission about discriminative policies of the Government to the United Nations when its Special Rapporteur on Racism, Mr. Githu Muigai, visited Singapore. (Read paper here)

The PAP Government’s rhetoric about racial harmony does not quite match its actions. The views expressed by the party’s leader and members give us a valuable insight into the real thinking and prejudices of the party.

Discrimination – in all forms – has been a scourge on humanity. It has wrought much misery on the human race including bringing about wars, instituting slavery and causing hate-crimes. As long as we do not view our fellow human beings as equals and celebrate our diversity, we will continue to live in spiritual poverty and perpetuate discrimination.

The SDP calls on the PAP and its members to reject racism and other forms of discrimination and genuinely embrace cultural diversity instead of merely paying lip-service to it.