SINGAPORE: A racist online post by a member of Singapore’s labour movement has cost the individual her job.
Former assistant director at National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) membership department, Amy Cheong was sacked on Monday after it was established she had posted offensive comments on her personal Facebook page on Sunday.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on his Facebook page that he was "shocked" to hear about the incident as the comments were "just wrong and totally unacceptable".
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said it’s good NTUC acted quickly, as the comments were offensive not only to Malay—Muslims, but all citizens who value Singapore’s multiracial spirit and want to take it further.
Ms Cheong’s post on Malay weddings in void decks appeared on her Facebook page on Sunday afternoon.
She had several posts which attracted hundreds of comments, with many expressing unhappiness and dismay.
On Monday, NTUC initially said it was investigating the incident.
But later, Secretary General Lim Swee Say issued a terse statement saying her employment with the labour movement had been terminated with immediate effect.
This comes after it was established with Ms Cheong that she did post the offensive comments.
Mr Lim said NTUC takes a serious view of racial harmony in Singapore and has zero tolerance towards any words or actions by staff, that are racially offensive.
NTUC said it counselled Ms Cheong and highlighted the seriousness of her actions.
She has since apologised for her grave "lapse of judgement", and later posted another entry, sincerely apologising for what she described as a "silly comment".
She said it was "bad judgement" which she truly regretted, and that it was in no way a reflection of NTUC and its good work.
Meanwhile, a grassroots leader from Hougang constituency has made a police report against Ms Amy Cheong for her remarks.
Mr Lionel de Souza, who is secretary of its Inter—racial Confidence Circle, said he had lived through the racial riots in Singapore and felt such remarks should never be allowed, as it’s dangerous to play the race card in Singapore."
Mr Lionel de Souza said: "I served in the Police force during the 1964 riots. I was at the scene of the riots when it broke up. I was escorting Prohpet Mohammad’s procession at Kallang Road when the whole procession exploded into rioting. I was there. My colleagues and I were escorting the procession. We did our best to save lives by pushing people, the Chinese into the coffee—shop, at junction of Kallang Road and Kampung Bugis. All these come back to my mind and we should not have any racial problems that can lead to riots. Personally, I feel that insulting people’s race and religion is becoming very rampant on new media. My purpose of sending the report is to send the right signals to people who are like—minded, who think they can get away by insulting a race or religion. This in Singapore, is definitely no—no. It’s too dangerous to play the race card."
Later, Ms Cheong issued a second
saying she is aware of the pain caused through her insensitive remarks on social media and that no racism was intended in her posts.
Separately, police confirmed that reports on the Facebook posting have been lodged and are looking into the matter.
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