Compassion must be tempered by respect for the law

Mr Phillip Tan Fong Lip's call for care and compassion is not unwarranted (Show compassion to those coming here to earn money, March 27), yet this compassion must be tempered with caution, discretion and respect for the law.

Open policies, lax laws, inefficient policing and lenient sentencing will simply result in the unmanageable and disorderly influx of those seeking refuge in our safe harbour.

The Straits Times has reported on those working here as illegal labourers, medically untested sex workers and beggars.

A country cannot turn itself into a charitable institution receiving all and sundry escaping from the deprivation exerted by war and economic mismanagement in their own countries.

If we feel sorry for these people experiencing hardship and suffering, we can contribute in our own private capacity but the law must be left to take its course.

We can also count ourselves fortunate to have a stable and competent government for, if not, we might be the needy ones needing charity in other countries.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Compassion must be tempered by respect for the law'. Subscribe