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First priority is to find cause of Little India riot: PM Lee

Broader issues such as social policies can be addressed later

Published on Dec 25, 2013 9:46 AM
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(From left) Sgt Muhammad Syahiir, 22, Minister S. Iswaran, SCDF Lta Tiffany Neo, 25, SCDF Paramedic Nur Elfyana, Cpl Mohd Mahadir, 22, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's wife, Ms Ho Ching, Cpl Fauzi Zulkefli, 24, Cpl Tan Xuan Ren, 22, SI Nio Beng Khoon, 36, and Mr Lee on Tuesday, Dec 24, 2013. The Committee of Inquiry investigating the Little India riot must first ascertain why the melee occurred, before broader issues of whether social and population policies need to be re-thought can be addressed. One priority now is to ensure a similar incident does not happen again, Mr Lee also said yesterday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The Committee of Inquiry investigating the Little India riot must first ascertain why the melee occurred, before broader issues of whether social and population policies need to be re-thought can be addressed.

One priority now is to ensure a similar incident does not happen again, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also said yesterday.

"I think we deal with... what led to the riot and then the broader issues we can argue and debate," he told reporters, adding that these issues, which could extend to the "entire" social and population policy, must be dealt with separately. "I do not accept that we must straight away ask whether fundamental approaches or the whole way our society is organised needs to be re-thought immediately."

For now, one lesson is that incidents like the Dec 8 riot can break out in a stable society, but it is important to have a well-trained Home Team that can deal with them in a measured and decisive way. Mr Lee was speaking to reporters after spending over an hour listening to dramatic accounts from 38 officers who were the first responders in the riot, which involved about 300 people of mostly South Asian origin.

 
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