S'pore envoy raps Utusan for editorial

Singapore's High Commissioner to Malaysia has hit back at an editorial by newspaper Utusan Malaysia on changes to Singapore's elected presidency, saying it made several "baseless and mischievous allegations".

These include the claims that in Singapore, "meritocracy was always being used as an excuse to discriminate against Malays", that "meritocracy was also open to manipulation" and that "Malays became weaker and marginalised from the corridors of power", wrote Singapore envoy Vanu Gopala Menon in a letter to the Malay-language daily.

The letter was published yesterday on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

The newspaper's editors, writing under the pseudonym Awang Selamat, had praised the move to reserve this year's presidential election for Malay candidates.

The editorial, published on Sunday, then noted that some parties, including former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock, have opposed the move.

It went on to comment on meritocracy in Singapore.

Mr Menon wrote that he wanted to "set the record straight". He said meritocracy is a key pillar of Singapore's system of governance, and Singaporeans have equal opportunities, regardless of race, language or religion.

He added that Singapore's Malay community has made significant social and economic progress in the past five decades because of its efforts in a fair and just society, not because of privileges given.

"Singapore's meritocratic system has never been 'manipulated' or 'used as an excuse to discriminate' against Singapore's Malay community, or any other community," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore envoy raps Utusan for editorial'. Print Edition | Subscribe