Singapore Must Clarify Its Position On Claims Of “Discrimination” Against Sabahans And Sarawakians

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A news report today (The Star, September 10 2012) alleged that males below 35 from Sabah and Sarawak are being automatically rejected Singaporean work visas.

The Singaporean government, through its manpower ministry, must respond unequivocally on what is their official position on the matter.

If the report is true, then Singapore is guilty of discriminating a set of Malaysians based on demographic, in this case younger males from Sabah and Sarawak.

It is the prerogative of Singapore to procure human resource for its economy, but it is morally dubious to accept Malaysian labour and then discriminate one particular subset. To us in Pakatan Rakyat, all Malaysians are equal.

Singapore has to be mindful that these jobs are crucial to the wellbeing of those employed and their families back in Sabah and Sarawak. A blanket ruling hurts many but without any guarantee of achieving any intended objective.

The rationale that there may be some “unwanted” elements from that subset does not justify rejecting all who fall under the category. Visas should be issued based on skill, experience and suitability to jobs, not by demographic profiling.

All Malaysians employed in Singapore, including those now apparently sidelined, contribute to the Singaporean economy. Therefore excluding some based not on what they have done, but by their place of birth inside the Federation of Malaysia is unjust.

I want a quick response to the issue so that the livelihood of thousands of Malaysians and their families can be resolved soonest.

DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
Leader of the Malaysian Opposition