Singaporeans need to speak up against violence, unkind behaviour, prejudice and discrimination, said Madam Halimah Yacob, the Speaker of Parliament.
To do so, Madam Halimah urged Singaporeans to “share this civic responsibility, regardless of race, language or religion.”
Speaking at a conference on diversity organised by the Singapore chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) on 16 February 2017, Madam Halimah also pointed out that racial diversity and equality for women in Singapore did not come about without design.
They are a result of law, policies and community programmes started by the Government over the years, she said.
However, she explained that legislation cannot solve everything.
“We can, through legislation, prevent people from saying really nasty things, inciting violence against each other or aggression. But we cannot really make people like each other and support each other,” she said.
As globalisation paves way to new challenges and social fault lines, Madam Halimah added that the Singapore government cannot “single-handedly create harmony or shape our future”.
But with a strong civic culture and where everyone sees that a harmonious society is a shared responsibility, Singapore can overcome these challenges, she said.