Just when you thought the human rights transgression in Singapore cannot get worse, it surprises you with what else it can do.
Apparently, the government wanted to test the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force on how they would respond if a riot occurs at the foreign worker dormitories.
“What if some quarrels erupt, leading to fights or worse?,” National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan asked on his Facebook.
“To test our response capability, the Police, the SCDF, the dorms operators and our grassroots organisations organised a simulation exercise recently.
“It was a useful way to network up the various agencies, and spread preventive messages.
“Prevention is always better than cure,” Mr Khaw said.
Sounds like a disease?
No, actually Mr Khaw is talking about actual human beings here – yes, the foreign workers who build the flats that his ministry manages.
And to conduct the test, actual foreign workers were asked to “riot” so that the police and civil defence could then quell the riot.
It is uncertain why Indian workers were used or why it seems that a drill needs to be conducted specifically with foreign workers.
Mr Khaw also said that, “given the concentration of foreign workers in one locality”, “These are possible scenarios (that they can riot).”
As if it is not bad enough that the foreign workers in these dormitories earn the lowest wages in Singapore – as low as $300 to $500 every month, they are made to take part in exercises that discriminates against them.
On 8 December last year, a riot took place in Little India, after a private bus knocked down and killed a foreign worker from India. The government blamed the riot on the rioters having drunk alcohol.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said, “We should not generalise a group because of some individuals. I don’t think that is fair or justifiable because their (foreign workers) crime rates are, in fact, lower than Singaporeans in general.”
Sure, and this is why we need to conduct an exercise on riot management at a foreign worker dormitory.