OPINION: New Singapore Law Will Not Keep Peace in Little India - Sri Ranjini Mei Hua Raman

The Diplomat, 16 Feb 2014
A recent bill introduced in Singapore will give police in the Little India district the authority to strip search foreign workers in order to prevent unruly behavior set off by excessive alcohol consumption. This bill comes as a response to the December 8 riot in Little India, which was triggered by the death of a construction worker from India, who was hit by a private bus. Since the incident, the bus driver, a Singaporean, had been arrested and charged with causing death by a negligent act. He is currently out on bail.
The riot attracted significant international attention, and sparked debate on the integration—or lack thereof—of low-wage foreign labor in the wealthy city-state. In Singapore itself, portrayal of the riot by the government and the media has been one-sided. For instance, few, if any media interviews were conducted with foreign workers in Little India following the riot. A survey commissioned by the government of about 150 departing foreign construction workers last year suggest the majority were satisfied with their overall working experience. However, the reliability of the survey is questionable, given they were conducted by a government that has wide discretionary powers to revoke re-entry permits and deport without prosecution. Full story