Sunday, November 30, 2014

Singapore's blatant discrimination against ethnic Indian and Malay businesses

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful for this article to Surekha Y Yadav's "If you aren't Chinese, you can't compete in Singapore" dated Nov 30, 2014.

Blue Diamond is a little Indian Biryani Restaurant along Buffalo Road off Serangoon Road in Singapore's Little India. It's owner is Abdul Hameed Mohammed Farook. He was prosecuted for violation of Work Permit regulations for hiring a non-Chinese worker in his Indian restaurant!

It is quite hard to believe for a so called modern city state but these are the facts.

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower controls the employment of foreigners. Although Singapore's tiny population comprises of no more than perhaps 1.5 million local born with the rest 3.5 foreigners, the laws relating to employment, indeed in every other sphere, is clearly slanted in favor of ethnic Chinese, primarily Chinese from Communist China. This advantage given to the Chinese over other races is clearly in violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection clause, but when have the tiny island's tin pot dictators ever obeyed it?

Briefly this official racial discrimination in the island appears to originate from Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's retired Prime Minister's personal views. The Chinese, he said, are hardworking industrious and intelligent people, whereas the Malays are lazy and inefficient while the Indians are good enough only to incessantly argue and cause trouble. Therefore the Chinese are preferred and everything possible to help them must be done and the Hell to the lazy Malays and the troublesome Indians.

I think Hitler said something similar. The Germans are the best and the Jews are simply trouble. So you help the Germans and you kill the Jews.

Abdul Hammed Mohammed Farook of Blue Diamond needed workers. His is an Indian restaurant. He doesn't speak any Chinese.

According to the Ministry of Manpower, the Services Sector is comprises of

"Restaurants, coffee shops, food courts and other approved food establishments"

A Work Permit unlike other Visa categories such as the Employment Pass and S pass comprise of unskilled and semi skilled work which require lower salaries. All Farook needed was someone to help him in his restaurant with simple jobs, i.e. work permit, not someone with a PhD in culinary science.

But the law requires that work permits in the service sector can only be issued for applicants from Approved Countries and the Approved Country is principally Communist China. See below

Approved source countries/territories
Services sector companies can recruit workers from the following countries/territories: Malaysia People's Republic of China (PRC) North Asian Sources (NAS): Hong Kong#, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan. # Note: The foreigner must be holding a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Passport.

In other words, even though Blue Diamond is an Indian Restaurant whose Tamil speaking owner speaks no Chinese or Korean, in effect what the law says is that he has to employ someone from Communist China or Korea or Malaysia to help him in his Indian Restaurant and he may not under penalty of the law employ an Indian national, which would be the most logical thing in his Indian restaurant, as anyone can see!

Please see Ministry of Manpower laws here

Farook could not find anyone to work in his restaurant from among the handful of Indians still remaining in the island. It's tiny dwindling numbers are only about 7% of the already tiny local population. Facing either closure of his business or bend the law a little to survive, he did the next best thing. He employed an Indian under the S Pass category principally for technicians and similar workers who must be paid a minimum of $2,200.00 per month since this category does not prohibit Indian nationals. 

Unfortunately Farook was discovered using the wrong work visa category and has been prosecuted. He is clearly being prosecuted under an unjust law, which has no logical or rational basis.

Firstly it is clearly discriminatory on racial lines. Chinese restaurants and food establishments have no problem as they can employ as many Communist Chinese nationals as they want.

On the other hand Malay and Indian restaurants cannot employ Indians and are forced to employ Chinese nationals who cannot speak their language and totally detrimental to their business. They have to employ Chinese even though the owner speaks no Chinese and the Chinese applicant speaks no Indian.

Secondly this is a clear violation of the Constitution which requires equality between the races, by preferring Chinese over others.

Thirdly Singapore is run on a apartheid basis, not too different from erstwhile South Africa. Indians are allowed to work in construction as coolies but not allowed to work in hotels. Filipinos can work in hotels but not in construction. Filipinas can work as maids and hospital workers but not in restaurants. And so on and so forth according to whims and fancies of the Lee Kuan Yew, the dictator of Singapore and his tin pot tyrant, his son and their close friends who form the business in the Alice in Wonderland City state. A country that limits your privileges not according to your merits but according to how you look and what is your race.

You can see the rot and corruption seeping in the administration. This is what happens in any dictatorship which has been in power so long that they are now omnipotent. They are no longer open to question or even common sense. They simply can do what they want. They are totally impervious to however silly they may look. And this is what you eventually get, utter nonsense.

If Mr. Farook is being unjustly punished, Lee's Singapore is paying an even heavier price for the state sanctioned racial discrimination. The article by Surekha Y Yadav is being widely read in the very countries from which these workers come. Singapore is getting a well deserved image as a tin pot dictatorship whose laws are even more comical than those of Alice in Wonderland. The damage is by attrition. Slowly but surely the name of a pariah state banana republic is becoming entrenched. And this won't do either for this government or it's people.

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California USA
Tel: 510 491 8525


Anirban Kar Chaudhuri said...

Thank you sir for your eye-opening views. Time to vote PAP out to put an end to legalised racial discrimination.

Gopalan Nair said...

To Anirban,

Thanks for your comment. Mind you, simply voting the PAP out may not do the trick. The PAP is smarter than you think. They have actually co-opted the Workers Party as a second team PAP party. And they occasionally attack them to give the impression, (IMPRESSION) they are opposition.

Since some time, they have decided that since Singaporeans are voting for the opposition anyway, why not give them one that supports them!

What Singapore needs before anything else is civil disobedience to restore fundamental rights. Once that is done, then elections would make some sense.

There is no one presently in the so called opposition that dares to stand up to them. Voting for them is as good as a vote for the PAP.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately civil disobedience is not going to happen in Singapore. Cerrainly not now and certainly not for the remainder of this decade.

The very reasons are highlighted in the present predicament Ms. Yadav wrote about in her thoughful piece and in your article.

The PAP wants to keep the homogeneous population Chinese at all cost and will import even more to balance out the dwindling chinese levels. The TFR of the chinese as of 2013 was a miserable 1.02. The Malays fair better at 1.6.

The govt knows the chinese are not going to rebel against them and will look to the ballot box. As you have correctly pointed out there is no opposition in Singapore at all. The WP like a leninist state has already been co-opted automatically into the system. It is wishful thinking they the WP will stand up for the Chinese masses as the latter hopes.

Rebellion will not happen, not with the 75% chinese population as they lack the courage, imagination and resilence to overthrow the PAP. The activitist you see in Singapore today are an exception not the norm. Even then they are on their own as the Chinese masses expect the 1 or 2 activists to deliver them from the crutches of the PAP.

Linda Kosmanto said...

Personally, I think ethnic Chinese (regardless of nationality) should consequently benefit from LKY's whims and fancies. It would help me!

vivian-李美玲-has-more-BALLS than national university of stinkapore-(nus)-alumnus-alvin-陳傑毅 said...

@linda kosmanto:

From YOUR name, you do NOT even sound Chinese:

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Now, what citizenship(s) do YOU have?