Election result shows progress towards race blindness

I agree that it was gratifying that Bukit Batok voters mostly rejected reckless calls to vote along racial lines ("Now refocus on pressing issues"; yesterday).

The result of the by-election is unmistakable evidence that Singaporeans are progressing towards race, religion, language and gender blindness.

The fight in Bukit Batok was one between political ideologies - Mr Murali Pillai did not represent exclusively Indian Singaporeans nor did Dr Chee Soon Juan represent exclusively Chinese Singaporeans.

They, instead, fully represented their respective parties' premises.


The recent Bukit Batok by-election shows that a minority candidate can be successful ("Murali to be sworn in as MP today"; yesterday). This suggests that we may no longer need the group representation constituency (GRC) scheme to ensure minority representation in Parliament. We should consider doing away with it.


While, ideally, economic and other pressing issues should dominate in an election, in reality, the need to win votes and the existence of some voters' emotional link to communal differences cannot be undermined.

It is heartening that reckless calls to vote along racial lines were kept at bay. To me, the by-election was a much-needed learning situation rather than a needless distraction.

For it taught us that race will remain a major issue - in particular, during elections - and enrichment of the spirit of Singapore's multiculturalism is an intelligent way to resolve it.

S. Ratnakumar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Election result shows progress towards race blindness'. Print Edition | Subscribe