Strong deterrents needed to deal with deviant preachers

Students from Westwood Primary School, dressed in multiracial costumes, celebrating Racial Harmony Day on July 22. There is substantial need for a review of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA), given the crucial role it plays in the natio
Students from Westwood Primary School, dressed in multiracial costumes, celebrating Racial Harmony Day on July 22. There is substantial need for a review of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA), given the crucial role it plays in the nation's stability. It needs to be expanded to cover online religious influencers or comments, as well as levers to deal with troll accounts. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Singapore marked Racial Harmony Day recently, commemorating its worst racial riots that happened on the same day in 1964 - an incident that saw 22 fatalities and hundreds of others injured.

That the Republic has come a long way from that dark episode, having had a stable society for the most part of its independent history, is certainly worth celebrating. At the risk of oversimplification, one of the core drivers of the racial and religious solidarity in Singapore is good policy and strong legislation, together with other key factors like education and an acutely aware national psyche.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'Strong deterrents needed to deal with deviant preachers'. Subscribe