In response to arguments by Nominated Member of Parliament Viswa Sadasivan calling for equal treatment for all races, Minister Mentor Lee has asserted that the assumption of equal treatment for all races is 'false and flawed', and 'completely untrue'.
On Tuesday, Mr Viswa had tabled a motion for the House to reaffirm its commitment to principles in the National Pledge when debating national policies. The NMP, Chairman of the Political Feedback Group from 1994 to 2004, had expressed pride in Singapore's inter-racial harmony and principle of equal opportunity for all races.
By way of rebuttal, MM Lee stressed the historical antecedents of the special position accorded to Singaporean Malays, pointing to the racially charged period of the 1960s after the republic was thrown out of Malaysia.
The minister also pointed to Article 152 of the constitution, which says that it is the responsibility of the government to "constantly care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore".
In particular, it states that the government must recognise the special position of the Malays, 'the indigenous people of Singapore', and safeguard their political, economic and educational interests.
According to government statistic for 2008, Singapore's population was
about 4.8 million, with the Chinese forming the majority (76.7 per
cent), followed by the Malays (14 per cent), Indians (7.9 per cent) and
others (1.4 per cent).
The Straits Times, Reaffirm pledge principles, 18 August 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_418...
The Straits Times, MM rebuts NMP, 20 August 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_419...
Bernama, Singapore Malays Hold Special Position, 20 August 2009, http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=434488