PM Lee holds dialogue on tudung issue, says change must be gradual
The Government's position on the tudung is not static, but Singapore cannot take actions precipitously that can have unintended consequences, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a two-hour dialogue with over 100 leaders and representatives from the Malay community over the Muslim headscarf.
He reiterated the Government's stance in remarks made after the dialogue at the Old Police Academy, which is that it must balance the needs of all communities in Singapore to keep the country multi-racial and multi-religious.
"If we are going to have anything happen which can change the status quo, we want to make sure that the change takes place gradually and for the better. We do not want to make precipitous moves, which can lead to either a push back from other communities, which can lead to further demands from the other communities, which can lead to a weakening of our multi-racial ties, which will mean a much unhappier society," he said.
While he said he understood the position of those who want the tudung to be able to be worn by women who are in the frontline in the public service, or uniform personnel, the issue is broader than the tudung itself, and is about "what sort of society do we want to build in Singapore".