Photo of Little India riot from Economist

After being criticised by a former economist of GIC and current Lee Kuan Yew school’s adjunct professor Yeoh Lam Keong, the Singapore Police hastily accused the critic of being ignorant. The Singapore Police wrote on their Facebook page:

“Mr Yeoh Lam Keong in his Facebook posting of 5 Jun 2017 asserted that there is “inadequate community policing in Singapore”, and that “alienation from the police” was a “big reason” for the cause and “poor handling” of the Little India riot in 2013. Mr Yeoh’s sweeping statement is not only inaccurate, it shows a clear lack of understanding of what happened during the Little India riot and an ignorance of our community policing efforts…It is regrettable that Mr Yeoh did not check his facts before commenting on areas he has little knowledge of. His distorted points on the Little India riot and community policing will mislead others who don’t know the facts.”

The Singapore Police then started praising itself and taking credit for the safety standards in Singapore, and even quoted a state media propaganda survey claiming that 90% have confidence in them:

“Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. There is a high level of trust and confidence amongst Singaporeans in our Police force. In a 2016 public perception survey, 92% of respondents rated general safety and security in Singapore as good or very good, and 90% are confident the Police are well-prepared to tackle any major law and order incident. These statistics reflect the hard work we have put into engaging the community and keeping Singapore safe and secure.”

The Singapore Police also smugly challenged the economist to volunteer with the police to “get a better understanding”.

You may view the Singapore Police’s statement here.

In Yeoh Lam Keong’s Facebook post, he posted with statistics that the Singapore police is currently under-staffed due to the growing population. The “offending” post riled the Singapore Police into posting a harsh response condemning the economist professor.

You may read Yeoh Lam Keong’s post here.

However, in 2013, the Little India riot has indeed saw rioters targeting police vehicles being torched while private cars were untouched. Police officers in the incident were also caught on video running for safety, instead of confronting the rioters. The Singapore Police and the government’s COI ignored the facts and chose to deliver their own conclusions – refusing to acknowledge the authority’s mistakes in handling the foreign worker community. The COI government committee found the government not guilty, and blamed the riot solely on alcohol.

The alcohol ban is only active in Little India, while foreigner hotspots like Clark Quay and other areas in Singapore are excused, making the ban conspicuously targeting only poor foreign workers in Little India.

The arrogant response from the Singapore Police is however no surprise given that the Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, is also notorious for arrogantly challenging critics, often threatening them with lawsuits.