Calvin Cheng: Bringing Up Tudung Issue In Parliament Is Divisive Because We Do Not Practice Communal Politics

Some people have been arguing that Parliament should be the right place to bring up the tudung issue.

I would like to remind readers about the political history of Singapore: unfortunately, this would also entail a comparison to the Federation of Malaysia, from where we were ejected in 1965.

Malaysia’s political system consists of political parties that purport to represent a certain race, who then come together to form an alliance. The ruling coalition, the BN, consists of UMNO which represents the Malays, the MCA which represents the Chinese, and the MIC which represents the Indians. There are also smaller political political parties in the ruling coalition, but most of them purport to represent a race, or a religion. The opposition coalition is also broadly the same, but with the exit of PAS, the alliance is broken.

Malaysia thus practices communal politics.

Singapore is precisely the opposite.

The PAP is a multi-racial, multi-religious political party that represents the diverse interests of all Singaporeans. Our major opposition political parties are also the same. The GRC system is set up to ensure minority representation, but all MPs were elected by a diverse electorate.

We thus do not have Malay MPs championing Malay causes, Chinese MPs championing Chinese causes and so on. Unlike the Malaysian Parliament, our Parliament is not structured this way. Bringing up narrow communal causes in Parliament is thus divisive precisely because our political system, and our Parliament, was designed to ensure that we do not practice communal politics. We elected our MPs to represent us, regardless of our race or religion, not because of it.

Workers Party MP Faisal Manap was elected by the multi-racial electorate of Aljunied GRC. He was not elected only by the Malays or Muslims. He represents people of all races and all religions in Aljunied GRC.

He should remember that.


Source: Calvin Cheng

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