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Opinion
 

Ensure equal job opportunities for every Singaporean

Published on Apr 8, 2014 11:12 PM
 
Office workers in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD). Rounding up the Parliamentary debate on the Budget this year, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that government policies will encourage a culture that enhances every Singaporean’s productive capacity, including that of older workers. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Rounding up the Parliamentary debate on the Budget this year, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that government policies will encourage a culture that enhances every Singaporean’s productive capacity, including that of older workers. Significantly, he also acknowledged that the issue was not simply about “business and financial strategies” but also included “changing the way we think about every Singaporean”. He had a point.

Since 1964, for example, Singapore has avoided overt racial conflict. But is the absence of such dramatic incidents proof of the presence of racial harmony?

The reality is that any assessment of racial harmony and multiculturalism must also deal with racial discrimination. Last year’s Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) study on race relations in Singapore revealed that 67 per cent of Malays and 60 per cent of Indians said that they experienced discrimination during job applications. In contrast, 61 per cent of Chinese said they had never faced racial discrimination in employment. 

These findings were recognised in Parliament last month, when MP Hri Kumar proposed the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation to send a strong signal about accountability in employment practices. MP Zaqy Mohamad further cited by Suara Musyawarah, an independent committee that does research on the Malay/Muslim community. The report highlighted discriminatory practices in workplaces where employers prefer non-Malay employees.

 
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