The Malays, Indians, and Chinese
Singapore’s history with Malaysia created a government that was afraid of specific ethnic groups, helping to create a culture where the local Chinese are privileged and the Malays are suppressed, discriminated against, and given an unfair and unlikely chance to succeed in Singapore’s society.
By organizing citizens into racial categories and limiting specific ethnic groups’ rights, the Singaporean government has helped create and ensure that racial divisions carry on throughout the nation’s citizens. Because the government’s desire to create a prosperous and harmonious society takes precedence over the Malay population, it has contributed to the issue of racism in Singapore. Instead of protecting all Singaporean citizens, it has isolated one ethnic group in order to assure the nation’s survival and has hindered their efforts to call attention to the discriminatory practices that they are subjected to.
Races without Racism?: Everyday Race Relations in Singapore
Because the Singapore state is concerned with the loyalty of the Malays, it has denied them from seeking careers in the military as well as receiving a well-rounded education: “The education system in Singapore and how racial privileging and the endorsement of the development of a Chinese elite excludes Malays and Indians from Singapore’s top schools because their medium instruction is in Mandarin and English” (Velayutham, 5).
In the workplace:
In addition to being denied access to a sufficient education, the Malays are discriminated against in the workplace. Since there are “no anti-discrimination laws in Singapore to deal with discriminatory practices in the workplace” (Velayutham, 5), the Malays are at a disadvantage by not being able to advance and excel professionally. By not implementing policy, the government is ignoring the problem, contributing to the issue, and creating economic inequality between the Malays and the Chinese: “The labelling of Malays as lazy, unproductive and of low socio-economic standing has profound consequences and the census data on education attainment, housing and monthly household income remind us of the systematic lack of opportunities available to attain social mobility” (Velayutham, 10).