Singapore government to control hate speech, extremist teachings

To protect Singapore from the threat of terrorism, authorities will be reviewing legislation and studying ways to counter the threat of hate speech and extremist teachings, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament today.

Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act will also be reviewed to deal with ‘segregationist teachings’.

The Minister added, “Religion can be and has been a source of strength to our society, but we must also watch for exclusivist, intolerant practices because that can deepen fault lines and weaken our entire society.”

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam
Home Affairs and Law Minister of Singapore K Shanmugam. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Shanmugam was speaking in the Singaporean Parliament on the motion, ‘Staying united against the terrorism threat’ jointly filed by four members of the House – MP for Holland-Bukit Timah Christopher de Souza, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, MP for Bukit Batok Murali Pillai and Jurong GRC MP Dr Tan Wu Meng.

He also informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs is looking at tightening restrictions on foreign preachers who do not share Singapore's values of religious harmony and ensure they do not come to Singapore to preach.

MHA is also coming up with more ways to deal with hate speech.

Stressing on promoting social cohesiveness, the Minister said, “To win the psychological battle of staying united as a society after an attack, Singapore needs to strengthen its social cohesiveness, and affirm multiracialism as a fundamental principle of Singapore society.”

Referring to Singapore’s activist approach for maintaining racial harmony, he said, “Singapore’s approach – as I have sketched out is to build a Singapore identity that can accommodate diversity and celebrate our different racial and religious identities, whilst at the same time creating a broad common space that we all share, as Singaporeans.”

He added, “That's an ongoing journey. It has to be continually be adjusted, refined – as circumstances, locally and globally, evolve.”

Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.


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