Race issues

Will overly strict laws affect harmony instead?

It is fair and necessary that there is a range of laws to guard against racist comments and safeguard public harmony.

However, that these laws can be invoked even if there was no intention to hurt the feelings of others seems overly strict.

We must not overlook how insensitive comments on, for example, age, gender, education level and income level can also disturb public tranquillity.

In fact, the possibilities that a careless comment can offend different segments of society seem endless. Is there any penal code to address each and every one of them?

Overly strict laws to guard against racism may discourage people from communicating more with people of different races. Instead of forging racial harmony, the ramification of having such strict laws could be the opposite.

Roy Goh Hin Soon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'Will overly strict laws affect harmony instead?'. Subscribe