Speaking at a REACH dialogue yesterday (Sep 8), Minister of State Chan Chun Sing was on full gear supporting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s calls to fix the President position by claiming Singaporeans, especially Chinese, are racist.
According state media, Minister Chan Chun Sing was speaking in Mandarin and recalled a racist situation:
“He recalled a conversation with a fellow soldier of a minority race during his time in the army. The soldier told Mr Chan “because you are the majority race, you are Chinese, you won’t understand this feeling”. This blunt statement was probably made only because they knew each other well, said Mr Chan. If we can one day be better than other countries and reach a race- and language-blind society, and we don’t need these rules, that’s good. But before we reach that goal, what can we do to make our systems more robust, protect our social fabric, and not let people divide our society?”
Also present at the REACH dialogue is Minister of State Sam Tan, who reiterated the stance claiming Singaporeans, especially Chinese, are racist because they did not vote for a Malay president again since 1970:
“Chinese people may not have considered how their friends of other races might feel if there is no president from their community for some time. He noted that there has not been a Malay president since Mr Yusof Ishak, who died in office in 1970.”
Participants of REACH dialogue do not get the opportunity to voice their dissent and the session went ahead with only the two Ministers “explaining policies”. Public dialogue in Singapore organised by the government feedback unit REACH are usually one-way held in a seminar style like multi-level marketing. The pretext of such seminars is to “explain policies”, rather than debate and discuss. Participants of REACH dialogues are usually vetted and dissenting voices are often denied opportunities to explain.
The Singapore government is currently re-writing the Constitution to ban Dr Tan Cheng Bock from contesting.