The Straits Times newspaper has apologised for an “error” in its report on what a Member of Parliament (MP) said of Mr Yang Yin, a Chinese national and Singapore permanent resident (PR), currently embroiled in a legal tussle and police investigation.
On 8 September, the newspaper reported Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar as having said that Mr Yang was “a grassroots leader and one of several leaders in Ang Mo Kio GRC helping foreigners integrate into society.”
“But Dr Intan said she did not know Mr Yang personally and that he was one of the many grassroots leaders in her constituency,” the Straits Times reported then.
"He came to help out during grassroots events... but he doesn't hold a position," the newspaper quoted Dr Intan as having said.
She also added, referring to the controversy over Mr Yang's presence in the grassroots, "The grassroots leaders... a lot of them are doing very good work but they don't get time in the media," she said. "But because of one incident, (they) get highlighted."
In a correction published in the Straits Times on 17 September, some 9 days after its original report, the newspaper said:
“What Dr Intan said was that Mr Yang was one of many grassroots leaders but he does not hold a key post.”
There are more than 30,000 grassroots leaders under the People’s Association (PA) umbrella which overseas more than 1,500 grassroots organisations.
The number of PRs who are grassroots leaders number about 1,400 in 2010. Some 4,625 of them were new citizens. (See here.)
Only Singapore citizens and PRs can be grassroots leaders.
However, there is “a cap of 15 per cent for PRs who can serve per grassroots organisation.”
This, the PA said, is “to maintain a good balance between Singaporeans and PRs in grassroots work.”
But the PA spokesman added: “If there is a need to appoint more PRs in a grassroots organisation, we will evaluate it on its merit.”