Little India Riots: Our Bigwigs Speak

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Now that we’ve heard what the public has to say, let’s all turn our attention to the nation’s most important people, the ministers, Member of Parliaments and politicians. Drum rolls…

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As far as we know now, there was no Singaporean involved in the riot. The unwanted violence, rioting, destruction of property, fighting the police, is not the Singapore way.” — Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee, who told BBC News that he condemned the violence, describing it as “intolerable, wanton violence.”

[The riot is a] very grave incident. Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive and criminal behaviour. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.” — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

The Little India riot last night was a very grave incident. Several police officers were injured, and vehicles damaged or destroyed. The situation is now under control, and investigations are underway. Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

I want to make very clear that the government will not tolerate such lawless behaviour. I have asked the police to investigate the matter thoroughly and deal with all aspects of this incident and all persons involved strictly, firmly and fairly according to our law.” — Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean

In my mind it was quite evident that alcohol could have been a contributory factor…we need to properly demarcate areas and the time drinking is allowed…in my opinion, there are too many liquor licences around.” Transport Minister Lui Tuck Liew, who added that stalls permitted to hawk alcohol in Little India should do so responsibly.

In a situation like this, we should stop (and help to stop) the spreading rumours, esp. Avoid anything with racial undertones to maintain our racial and religious harmony. We should speak out against riot as a matter of principle but should not stoke anti-foreigner sentiments. Look out for government updates in newspaper / MediaCorp and circulate the information in our community. Do not spread online news without checking out the facts.” Masagos Zulkifli 

My generation is not used to such things, so we must react calmly and thoughtfully when we post comments online on this episode or speak in daily conversation on matters concerning race in particular. Referring to Bangladeshi workers as “ah neh” is not helpful and show how far we have to go in building an inclusive society. Full support to our police and SCDF personnel in responding to this incident and I hope none of them have been injured.” Pritam Singh, Member of Parliament

Foreign workers are in Singapore, by and large, law-abiding individuals who are here to earn a living and support their families in their home countries. We should not tar all foreign workers with the same brush.” Lee Bee Wah, Member of Parliament

Stay calm. Avoid racial comments. Why? Emotions are raw and can stir unintended knock-on effects.” Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin 

In my mind it was quite evident that alcohol could have been a contributory factor; we need to properly demarcate areas and the time drinking is allowed…in my opinion, there are too many liquor licences [available] in the area. Those permitted to sell alcohol should do so responsibly.”  Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. He also warned Singaporeans not to add a “racial tone” to the incident. 

Stay clam. Don’t speculate. Singapore Police Force is on the ground. This is not a game. Nor time for politicking. Our guys are on the line. Please support them.” Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin

President Tony Tan Keng Yam, like all Singaporeans, says he’s deeply concerned by the violence that took place in Little India last night. He urged everyone to redouble their commitment to keeping Singapore safe, peaceful and strong.