Singapore

Police reports made against DPM Heng; AGC says no offence committed

This article is more than 12 months old

The police confirmed yesterday that police reports were made against Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat over his remarks at a March 2019 forum that Singapore was not yet ready for a non-Chinese prime minister.

In a statement, the police said they consulted the Attorney-General's Chambers, which advised that no offence was committed. "Mr Heng's remarks, in the context they were made, do not evidence any intent to wound anyone's racial feelings or promote enmity between different races."

Mr Heng, who is leading the People's Action Party team contesting in East Coast GRC in the general election, had made the remarks at a forum in response to a question on whether it was Singapore or the ruling party that was unprepared for a minority-race PM.

He said then that based on his interactions with residents in past elections, views supportive of a non-Chinese PM are not as common among people from the older generation.

According to a screenshot posted online of one of the police reports against Mr Heng, it was made on Sunday night, hours after the police said they were investigating Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan over comments she had allegedly made on discrimination by Singapore's law enforcement authorities against minorities.

Ms Raeesah, 26, apologised that same night, saying she did not mean to cause social division but had made the remarks as she wanted to raise awareness about minority concerns.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a woman, 24, who made one of the police reports said she had done so as she found Mr Heng's comments to be "racially divisive and promotes enmity between different racial groups".

ACCOUNTABLE

In the report, she highlighted Mr Heng's comments in a Today Online article headlined "Older generation of S'poreans not ready for non-Chinese PM: Heng Swee Keat" that was published in March last year.

The woman told The Straits Times she hoped to hold key political office holders accountable for what they say because of the "broad and powerful platform" they have.

"But ultimately, I believe the best way to deal with racially or religiously insensitive comments is through education and raising the socio-political consciousness of the public," she added.

GENERAL ELECTION 2020