In a Facebook post yesterday, June 7, Singapore Police Force (SPF) have rebutted allegations made by economist Yeoh Lam Keong that inadequate community policing was to blame for the 2013 Little India riot.
Yeoh's post on Sunday was a comment on the impact of the United Kingdom's police budget cuts on the nation's security in light of recent terror attacks.
Yeo, who is an adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), also said that "alienation from the police" was a "big reason" for the cause and "poor handling" of the Little India riot. He added that alcohol was "just a convenient scapegoat" in the incident.
The SPF responded that it was "regrettable that Mr Yeoh did not check his facts before commenting on areas he has little knowledge of. His distorted points on the Little India riot and community policing will mislead others who don't know the facts."
The police called his statements "sweeping" and "inaccurate", saying that they show "a clear lack of understanding of what happened during the Little India riot, and an ignorance of (Singapore's) community policing efforts." In the post, SPF also cited conclusions from a Committee of Inquiry on the riot. The committee had found the consumption of alcohol to be a "major contributory factor."
The post closed with an invitation to Yeoh to "come forward and volunteer in community policing, [so that] he will then get a better understanding of what the Police does."
Yeoh subsequently apologised if he had "sounded unnecessarily strident" in his original post, and added that he appreciates the police's clarification and reassurance. "I just worry as a concerned citizen and economist that it may be inadequately resourced to keep up this excellent work in the future," said Yeoh, stating that his view was only a "macro personal observation."
Earlier this morning, Yeoh shared a post on Facebook to back up his argument about the lack of resourcing for police.