Forum: Have more stringent tests to pick out those suitable for S'pore citizenship

Having preventive and punitive measures like these will be a more manageable way of ensuring harmony between new citizens and most Singaporeans in the long term.
Having preventive and punitive measures like these will be a more manageable way of ensuring harmony between new citizens and most Singaporeans in the long term.PHOTO: ST FILE

I applaud the initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to let Singaporeans have a say in the mandatory induction programme for new citizens (Call for views on norms for new citizens, Jan 17).

While I generally think it is a good idea to have a platform for Singaporeans to voice out what they think are the norms and values in Singapore, and which new citizens should adhere to and live by, I wonder if such a programme is the answer to the tensions, misunderstandings and altercations between new citizens and long-time Singaporeans.

It might already be too late by then.

Character and personality traits are usually the root cause of many problems.

Identifying and assessing an applicant's personality during the interview process before he is granted citizenship is a more effective way of not picking people who the country feels may have antisocial behaviour.

This may require the expertise of a psychologist or similar experts.

Another way to avoid such conflicts is by having a behaviour credit rating system for all new citizens for a period of, say, five years.

A person who chalks up demerit points for misbehaving could be penalised. For instance, he could be given low priority for government services.

Having preventive and punitive measures like these will be a more manageable way of ensuring harmony between new citizens and most Singaporeans in the long term.

Roy Goh Hin Soon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2020, with the headline 'Have more stringent tests to pick out those suitable for S'pore citizenship'. Print Edition | Subscribe