An inequality study conducted by a National University of Singapore sociologist and an economist from the University of Melbourne found that Malay and male students are least likely to be enrolled into elite Junior Colleges like National JC, Raffles JC and Temasek JC.
From breaking down the statistics of more than 5,000 classrooms over 40 years – between 1971 and 2010 – the study found gender and race disparities in the profiles of the students. According to the study, there are more female students and non-Malay students in elite JCs today because the schools are located in wealthy neighbourhoods and that the Malay population are getting smaller in these “wealthy vicinity”.
This study coincides with a recent housing statistic released in March that found rising poverty among Malays. The number of Malay Singaporeans living in rental flats doubled from 4.9% in 2005 to 10.9% in 2016.
Racism is also institutionalized in a few sectors of Singapore’s governance. An unspoken rule states that Malay Singaporeans are not allowed to join the Air Force or Navy because of unknown reasons. Rumors had it that the Singapore government is worried that the Malay Singaporeans will defect to surrounding Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia in times of conflict. In Singapore’s HDB public housing policies, the government also enacted a race quota to ensure that the Malay and other race minorities do not get to form close-knitted communities.
Malay Singaporeans living in poverty doubled in past 10 years