According to reports, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) is of the opinion that the comments made by First Assistant Secretary-General of the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP), Heng Swee Keat in an article that appeared in TODAY on 29 March 2019 does not constitute an offence. The police acting on the advice of the AGC has said that Heng’s remarks did not evidence any intent to wound anyone’s racial feelings or promote enmity between different races.
The police were responding to a police report filed by a member of the public in relation to the comments made by Heng.
Let’s compare this with how the two police reports filed against Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Raeesah Khan have been handled by the police and also the AGC.
Ostensibly, the complaints made against Heng and Khan are largely similar. Both have racial overtones. In Khan’s case, she is alleged to have been racist towards the Chinese majority in Singapore while in Heng’s case, he is alleged to have been racist to minorities.
In a Chinese majority Singapore, it would seem like common sense that it is more likely for there to be racism towards the minorities than vice versa. In that context, isn’t it more likely that Heng’s comments could likely cause more enmity than Khan’s?
Khan appears to be fighting for racial justice while Heng seems to be applying a glass ceiling on the political ambitions of minorities. In other words, Khan appears to be strenuously and passionately asking for equality while Heng appears to be cementing the inequality.
If common sense were to prevail, aren’t Heng’s comments much more detrimental to us pledging “ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society based on justice and equality so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”?
How do Heng’s comments stack up against the pledge?
Secondly, Heng is likely to be the future prime minister of Singapore while Khan is a 26 year old first time contestant for the opposition. Looking at Singapore’s overwhelmingly PAP political landscape, isn’t it much more likely for Heng’s words to cause hurt and damage than Khan’s?
Thirdly, the police report against Heng was filed after the police report against Khan was filed. Why is it that the police and AGC have been so quick to respond and clarify Heng’s case while Khan’s case appears to still be in limbo?
Last but not least, Khan swiftly apologised for the hurt she has caused. As far as I am aware, Heng has still not yet apologised for the hurt that he may have caused (unless of course, the apology was meant to be part of the East Coast Plan we never heard in full).
Looking at things in this context, one could be forgiven for questioning if Heng had received preferential treatment?