Referring to the news that a radicalised group led by an S-Pass holder with the intention to over throw the Bangladeshi government was operating here, SDP candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan said that radicalised foreign nationals can be stopped by tightening our immigration policy.
The Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam replying to SDP’s leader said that Dr Chee’s comments on the topic showed “a lack of understanding of the nature of the problem.”
Mr Shanmugam said that radicalisation is sweeping the region and the world, and that Singapore cannot be immune from it.
The Home Affairs Minister asked, “so what does Dr Chee suggest? That we say no to all foreign workers? Or we say no to all foreign workers who are Muslim?”
Noting that there were several tens of thousands of Bangladeshi workers in Singapore who work in the construction sector and town councils Mr Shanmugam further asked, “So what do we do? Send them all back? Who is going to do their jobs? And also, construction sector, you send them back, who suffers? Singaporeans will lose their jobs too,” the Minister said.
Although Dr Chee called for the immigration policy to be tightened he also did say that his Party had never advocated for a ‘zero-immigration policy’.
To highlight the problem of better vetting of immigrants who come to Singapore, Dr Chee highlighted the problem foreigners who were buskers, cardboard collectors and rag-and-bone men who were illegally plying their trade in Chinatown. He stressed that the policies must be tightened to better prevent such elements from setting foot here.
Mr Shanmugam did not directly address this point but said that it was very odd that Dr Chee painted the problem as an immigration issue and called for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Referring to the eight Bangladeshis who are now detained under the ISA, political detainee Ms Teo Soh Lung said, “charge them in court if there is evidence of alleged crimes. Instruction manuals that are easily obtainable online need not necessarily be evidence of any alleged intent of the eight arrested and detained last month.”
Ms Teo Soh Lung was detained under the ISA in 1987 and again in 1988 on charges of being a Marxist conspirator. The alleged Marxist Conspirators have maintained their innocence and have have called for the Government to set-up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to determine the truth behind their detention.
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