Police dismiss claims of racism following incident at Bishan MRT Station, netizens on the fence over who was in the wrong

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (10 July), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) dismissed the allegations that police officers conducting checks at MRT stations target Malays, saying that the claims are “untrue, baseless, irresponsible, and may stir up racial tensions”.

The allegations were made after a video emerged online showing a man reacting angrily upon being stopped by TransCom officers at Bishan MRT station for a spot-check.

The video was uploaded on Tuesday (9 July) by Facebook user Is M Nordin on Facebook group Complaint Singapore with the caption, “What this guy is complaining against the police 👮‍♂️ officers is true.”

In the video, the man said that he had witnessed the officers screening mostly only Malay people and not those from the other races. He then noted that he is regular working man, adding that he is wearing his work uniform.

Additionally, he asked the officers to screen the Chinese people at the scene, further demanding them to show him that they do not only screen Malay people.

Meanwhile, the TransCom officers were seen attending the man in a calm manner.

Here’s the video of the incident:

The video of the dramatic incident continued to circulate online after that. As a result, many users began to recount their experience in being screened by the police, with some saying they were victims of racial profiling by the Singaporean police as they were picked because of their race.

Hence, the SPF responded to the allegations in the aforementioned post. However, the SPF’s responses as well as ST and TODAY’s coverage of the story drew quite the spectrum of responses from netizens – under the comment section on Facebook.

Many of them commended the officers for keeping their cool and fulfilling their duties. They also said that the screening was necessary for the sake of national security, and that the whole process only takes a couple of minutes.

Additionally, a bunch of them said that everyone gets screened regardless of their race. They also called out the man in the video for being “irresponsibly rude and uncooperative”, adding that “if you have nothing to hide, then there is not reason to blow up” and just let the officers do their job without the need to be hostile.

Despite the majority of the comments being in support to the police, many of them also pointed out that racial profiling do exist within the law. A handful of them questioned the integrity of the police, claiming that they only stop to screen the local people and tend to turn a blind eye towards any ang mohs (white people) or those who are professionally dressed and neatly-groomed.

Apart from that, some commented that “there is a need to look at how the TransCom on-ground personnel manage the situation” for some of them could be inexperienced. They added that the officers need to be “properly trained on how to visually screen for potential threats or dangerous individuals” and “learn how to approach people first and look out for people who maybe have personal issues” to avoid this incident into becoming a norm.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Secretary-General of the Reform Party, took to his Facebook on Friday (12 July) to share his blog post which highlights the need to abolish the Sedition Act in Singapore “to ensure that there is much more effort to eliminate discrimination against minorities”.

“The very fact that State Media described the man in the video as a Malay rather than a Singaporean typifies this Government’s long-standing policy of “othering” minorities and particularly the Malays,” he emphasized.