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George Yeo’s remarks – a different perspective

The following is a letter by a TOC reader who simply wants to be known as 'R'

I am writing with respect to George Yeo's controversial comment, where he said that The Satanic Verses was banned while The Last Temptation of Christ was not, because "the Christians are less likely to riot".

Many people have already slammed these remarks for being insensitive or unjustified. I shall not reiterate those sentiments. Instead, I think there is a deeper underlying problem that has not been addressed.

The more disturbing issue here is that the Government has publicly admitted to a policy of treating different religious groups differently based on which religious group is perceived to be more sensitive and likely to "riot". The Government has indicated that it will bend over backwards to appease those groups that it believes are more willing to resort to violence to achieve their goals.

This is entirely at odds with the PAP's avowed stance of strictly upholding the Rule of Law and never giving way because of civil disobedience. Apparently, this stance only applies to its political opponents like the Singapore Democratic Party.

It is also contrary to the Constitution, which states that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. It should not be the case that some groups are treated less favourably than others, simply because the Government thinks (rightly or wrongly) that they are "less likely to riot". The Government might claim that it is tailoring its approach to the unique sensitivities of each religion, but all that means is that whoever is more easily offended or shouts the loudest will get treated better, which is not how a country should be run.