Sunday, January 30, 2011

NSP Press Statement: We Are Singaporeans united as one irrespective of politics, religion or culture

The party is disappointed to read recent news report on what Minister of Home Affairs Shanmugam’s comments on Thaipusam as well as Minister Mentor Lee’s recent comments on Malay community as the main hindrance to social integration in Singapore. The politics of Division, Distraction to ensure PAP political dominance should have no place in political discourse in Singapore.

We feel that the strict enforcement of law on Thaipusam is totally unwarranted. Singaporeans have evolved as one people in spite of the diversities in race and cultural heritage. We have enhanced our understanding and tolerance to various cultural and religious celebrations as well as practices in almost all aspects of our lives. For almost four decades, Singaporeans have no problems in living with all sorts of “noisy” religious-cultural celebrations.

If the law is to be strictly applied and enforced on all activities and procession, we would have ended up with Chinese lion-dragon dance without drums and gongs, Malay traditional marriage without gendengs, Thaipusam without drums and cheers, Christmas without chorals played along Orchard Road and Chingay procession without all those “noisy” performances and music played on floats. Rules on festive noise-making should be determined by weighing upon inter-racial tolerance and strengthened civil society, through open consultation instead of administrative fiat by the minister concerned.

MM Lee’s comments on race and religion in “Hard Truths” are totally unwarranted and somewhat out of touch with the sensibilities and feelings of a younger and more cosmopolitan generation. In general, our party’s observation is that Singaporeans of all races have no issue with eating on the same table or for that matter halal food served and eaten at different tables even at the same event. Resistance to inter-racial marriages is on the decline even though there are some Singaporeans, just like MM Lee, who are still unable to accept and remain resistant to their children marrying to spouses of other races. However, such resistance to inter-racial marriages is NOT UNIQUE to Muslims alone just as MM Lee has made known his own resistance to it as well.

On the contrary, it seems to us that the ruling party is the biggest hindrance to social integration in Singapore. It has constantly reminded Singaporeans of the racial divides wherever possible. It has reminded voters that an Indian cannot be Prime Minister even when the candidate is proven to be the better choice. This is contrary to the system of Meritocracy which PAP has always emphasized on.

PAP has also used the excuse of the inability of minority candidates in winning an election against Chinese candidates to push for the GRC system. On the contrary, historical facts have shown that many PAP Malay and Indian candidates have won against Opposition Chinese candidates and the late JB Jeyaratnam has won in Anson against PAP’s Chinese candidate as well.

We believe that most Singaporeans are moderates in every race and religion. We believe that they share our core values as well as frustration at PAP’s aggressive FT policy which caused problems on jobs, housing, transport and healthcare.

We would want to urge the PAP to focus on these problems instead of sidetracking to sensitive racial issues so as to divide, distract and attempt to ensure its political dominance.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General
National Solidarity Party

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