Little India Riot: Law Minister rejects allegations in foreign media reports

Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Thursday fended off allegations in foreign media reports that claimed Sunday's riot in Little India happened because foreign workers here were not satisfied with their work conditions.

"I'm not saying you can't say it, but I think I'd like to see some evidence to back up a fairly substantive statement," he said. "It's a classic case of first deciding on what a sexy outline is and then writing a story without regard to the facts."

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Foreign Minister, was speaking to reporters before a dialogue with a group of foreign workers at Simpang Lodge 1 dormitory in Yishun. Joining him in the visit were Nominated MP R. Dhinakaran, and unionists M. Ramasamy and G. Muthukumar.

Turning to the Government's decision to ban the consumption and sale of alcohol in Little India this weekend, he said: "We want to go the extra mile to make sure that everything is completely locked down and safe. Primarily, because... of the possibility of copycat acts. So you take no chances. So you do much more than is necessary and if you're a resident in the area, you'll welcome it, and if you're outside, you'll understand why, because this is really to protect the area, to protect the residents, so people will understand, I think."