What PAP Really Wants Is Assimilation, Not Multicultaralism

The ban on hijab is part of the PAP’s attempt to remove Islamic identity among Malays in preference of a Chinese cultural hegemony.

The last few weeks, the Muslim community has once again, been treated poorly by the PAP Ministers.

K Shanmugam Sc] accused the community of being distant (even though the Malays are the most open and accommodating community in Singapura).

Then Masagos Zulkili justified the ban on hijab and likened the ban to the law against gay sex.

As stated in the other post, Assoc Prof Lily Zubaidah Rahim argued the hijab ban is due to a Secular Fundamentalist PAP government trying to control Islam.

But why does the PAP, a party that claims to promote multiracalism…

ban an Islamic obligation in the name of harmony?

The answer is that what the PAP want is not multiracialism but assimilation.

For a community to be assimilated into another, they need to change their values, behaviour, beliefs and anything that makes them different.

And become the same as the community they assimilate with.

Barr and Low observed:

“the Singapore systems of meritocracy and multiracialism are no longer concerned primarily with intercommunal tolerance…

but are aggressive programmes of assimilation of the racial minorities into a Chinese dominated society.”

“Chinese values—or at least the government’s narrow, sectarian version of Chinese values—were promoted to the whole population…”

“Where does that leave the minority races?… [To] prosper in this society, they need to internalise ‘Chinese virtues’ and become ‘like the Chinese’ in subtle but important ways.

In short, they are expected to submit to a form of partial or incomplete assimilation into a Chinese generated, Chinese-dominated society.”

The authors further argued that “the onus was thus placed on the Malay community to assimilate into the predominately Chinese Singapore, or risk continued marginalisation and discrimination.”

While LKY’s and the PAP’s desire to privilege their race is understandable even though it is racist…

Barr and Low assert that the Malay MP’s major function is to facilitate the Malay community’s assimilation into the Chinese community.

They noted “the overwhelming evidence is that the public leadership of the Malay community across the board are keen to help their constituency to assimilate, since this seems to be the path to prosperity and peaceful coexistence.

The PAP Malay MPs are obviously enthusiastic assimilationists, since this is a large measure of their raison d’etre…

Indeed, this need to assimilate into the rest of society in the public sphere is recognised by Syed Haroon Aljunied, Secretary-General of MUIS.

When asked if he thought ‘assimilation’ was necessary for the Malays to gain a higher representation in the civil service,

he replied ‘Yeah that’s right. Then they don’t see any difference.”


Barr, M. D., & Low, J. (2005). Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore’s Malays. Asian Ethnicity, 6(3), 161-182.


Source: Almakhazin SG

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