Masagos Zulkifli: Nothing Natural About Our Racial Harmony; It’s There BECAUSE We Keep An Eye All The Time

#masagos been reflecting PM sharing on Saturday as he recalled why he pushed for a reserved election for the minority communities although he knew it was going to be extremely difficult to carry the ground with it. PM could have kicked the can down the road for his successor to deal with it but he’s clear there’s no certainty the next PM is able to do it in time before a crisis makes it necessary.

I acknowledge our race relations is good where Singapore is today and that it’s heartening how as a society, we are all on the same page in looking forward towards a future where we won’t need a reserved election. Some have concluded since it’s all good we need not make a special effort and unnecessarily raise our race issues to the fore.

In truth, there’s nothing natural about our racial harmony – it’s there BECAUSE we keep an eye on it all the time and make many adjustments along the way – formation of MUIS, EIP for housing, GRC and now a reserved presidency. Even for MUIS, it was originally set up as requested by the community to help administer family laws for Muslims – now we’re glad there’s a MUIS to lead in our guard against extremism in our community and is a great asset against terrorism. We cannot take our harmony for granted and have a short term view of policies that seek to guard it.

I think the whole of Saturday was simply PM pointing out examples from other countries of what could go wrong if we are not careful about sensitivities around race. Myanmar is facing an immediate issue. Even in Singapore, in our more progressive state, we still have instances where our Muslim youth had been labelled as terrorist unfairly.

A friend told me that while in Pahang his family members there praised the courage of PM to get a Malay to the Presidency in a country where he has to handle the sensitivities of tbe Chinese majority. Thats why i always feel fortunate that i live in a country where the majority puts in so much hard work to make everyone feel they belong and the minorities make adjustments so that everybody integrates with one another. #OnlyInSingapore


Source: Masagos Zulkifli

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