Boost to multiracialism, say leaders of Chinese and Indian groups

Officer workers crossing the junction at Raffles Quay.
Officer workers crossing the junction at Raffles Quay.PHOTO: ST FILE

Leaders from the Chinese and Indian communities said they support the move to reserve next year's presidential election for a Malay candidate.

The step will strengthen multiracialism and social stability in Singapore, they added.

The new system will ensure multiracial representation in the highest office in the land, the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations told The Straits Times.

This is vital to safeguard Singapore's identity as a multiracial and harmonious society, said the national umbrella body that represents more than 200 Chinese clans and associations here.

"We urge all Singaporeans to support this new proposal, which would ensure that presidential elections remain current and relevant to our society," it added.

Yesterday, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a joint reply to The Straits Times .

"Meritocracy and multiracialism are the two key cornerstones of Singapore's success," said the chambers. "Social and racial stability is important to businesses and must be maintained. This allows businesses to plan ahead without worry, and adjust with ease. Businesses value a stable and predictable political system that is conducive in creating a pro-business environment to operate in."


The development does not surprise Mr Tan Aik Hock, president of the Singapore Lam Ann Association. "It is timely," said the clan association leader. "The Malay community has not had a president since Mr Yusof Ishak.

"Chinese Singaporeans will understand the reasons behind the move. It is part of being inclusive because we are a Chinese-majority society," he added.

Dr R. Theyvendran, president of the Singapore Ceylon Tamils Association, said the Indian community supports the move too, noting: "We have (had) two Indian presidents, so the Indian community is already represented and in a strong position.

"And this is a very fair system," he added. "Eventually, there will be another Indian president in the future."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'Boost to multiracialism, say leaders of Chinese and Indian groups'. Subscribe