PETALING JAYA: Malay right-wing group Perkasa wants Wisma Putra to send a letter of protest to Singapore for comments attributed to a senior minister comparing Singapore Malays with Malaysian Malays.
Singapore Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had been reported as saying that Singapore Malays are better off in terms of education standing, skills and wealth than those of similar ethicnicity in Malaysia or Indonesia.
Perkasa deputy chairman Sirajuddin Salleh said the statement made by Shanmugam was uncalled for.
“I am concerned about the statement. It is not diplomatic and is an insult to the King and the government of Malaysia,” he told FMT when asked to comment on Shanmugam’s statement.
Sirajuddin said Malaysia and Singapore were close neighbours and there should be greater diplomacy between both countries.
“I hope Wisma Putra will issue a strong protest letter. To me, the remark is not good. I will not touch on the content because it is very subjective.
“It is just like if he comes to my house and says something that is not nice. Whether he is right or not, that is subjective, but in this case, it is not very nice,” Sirajuddin said.
Earlier Channel News Asia quoted Shanmugam as saying that “with a stable, strong political system, with a strong government, with a guarantee for the minorities … with this framework, we can become the community that Muslim societies in other countries look towards and say, this is the example.”
Shanmugam had also suggested that Malay, Indian and Chinese PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) from Singapore were better off than those of the same race, respectively, in Malaysia.
However, the minister had cautioned that while Singapore was doing better compared with many parts of the world, “within Singapore there is still a gap” and they were no longer just competing with Malaysia or Indonesia, but instead competing with the world.
He said the proportion of Malay Primary 1 students who go on to post-secondary education had doubled from 45% in 1995 to 93% in 2015. Those who eventually receive polytechnic diplomas, professional qualifications or university degrees have “gone up over a five-year period to 21%.”
Shanmugam added that the proportion of Malays working as PMETs increased to 28% in 2010 and their median real monthly income per capita had doubled since 1990.
Nearly 90% of Malay households in Singapore own their own homes, according to Shanmugam.
However, he singled out three challenges facing the Malay-Muslim community in the country – radicalisation, loss of jobs and the over-representation of Malays being caught for crimes and drug abuse.
Citing a Pew Research Centre study which showed that 10% of Malaysian Malays had a favourable opinion of Islamic State (IS), and that nearly one-quarter were not prepared to come out and say that IS is wrong, Shanmugam said that Singapore Malays must not get to that level.
“A key part of that depends on you, the leaders of the Malay community, and whether you can make sure that the right religious values are put forth. We have to work hard at this because the influences are on the internet,” Shanmugam reportedly told a seminar organised by the Association of Muslim Professionals in Singapore.
On drug abuse, Shanmugam had said 53% of those arrested for drug abuse last year were Malays. This is an increase from 10 years ago when the proportion of Malays arrested for the same was 32%.