Thoughtless remarks and careless words that go viral instantaneously can easily undo racial harmony and disrupt Singapore’s multicultural society, said Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Mrs Josephine Teo.
Speaking to a group of Home Team officers and volunteers at the annual Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony on 1 August 2019, Mrs Teo stressed there is a need to step up efforts against hate speech.
Mrs Teo’s remarks came amid an ongoing controversy over a racist rap video in response to a “brownface” advertisement by epaysg.com, which featured a Mediacorp actor portraying characters, which included a woman in a tudung and a man with visibly darker skin.
Highlighting a recent incident where the police were falsely accused of targeting Malays during their enforcement checks at MRT stations, Mrs Teo said that such baseless allegations stir up racial tensions and damage people’s confidence in the Home Team. “We must redouble our efforts against hate speech and attempts to break our social cohesion,” she emphasised.
This is why, Mrs Teo said, the Government will update the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act to “strengthen our levers against elements that may harm our religious harmony”.
In her remarks, Mrs Teo also outlined how extremist ideology and foreign interference can affect Singapore. To secure Singapore’s future, Mrs Teo said Singaporeans must remain vigilant and guard against these threats.
Image: The Straits Times