By Gaurav Sharma
The minister for environment and water resources Vivian Balakrishnan and People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs Hri Kumar Nair, Vikram Nair and Janil Puthucheary, recently attended a dialogue with about 300 grass-root leaders and residents organised by Narpani Pearavai, or “Good Activity Council”, which is an umbrella organisation of People’s Association 94 Indian Activity Executive Committees spread all over Singapore.
Vikram Nair, who represents Sembawang group representation constituency in Parliament, explained the issues concerning the Indian community in Singapore.
“The Indian community like any other race in Singapore is also concerned about high immigration which may lead to job losses for Singaporeans, affordability of healthcare, and increasing competition in the primary education. The government has already acknowledged these concerns, which is why the PM in his National Day Rally speech proposed various strategic shifts in policies,” Nair said.
“For housing, I can say only about my constituency, where because of the ethnic quota, it has become harder for the Indian community to buy an HDB flat. We have few such appeal cases as well. Educational under- performance has always been a issue for the community but I am heartened to note that self- help groups like SINDA are doing a wonderful job on this front.”
Though repeated attempts to contact the minister Vivian Balakrishnan were unsuccessful, earlier media reports noted his comments that “employment discrimination is a key concern raised by Indian community leaders” during the dialogue.
Even the recent survey findings by Institute of Policy Studies and OnePeople.sg have highlighted such concerns.
Narpani Pearavai, when contacted declined to comment on the matter as “the information requested do not come under their purview”, it said. Hri Kumar Nair and Janil Puthucheary were also not available for comments. On the concerns expressed relating to employment discrimination, the MOM was approached, which declined to comment.
By Gaurav Sharma