Govt will calibrate S'pore's immigration intake to preserve racial balance: Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim

According to the CMIO classification system.

Sulaiman Daud | October 16, 2020, 11:06 AM

The government will calibrate the "pace and profile" of Singapore's immigration intake to "preserve Singapore's racial balance."

Responding to Member of Parliament (MP) Gan Thiam Poh's question about immigration policy to maintain the existing racial proportions, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said:

"We are keenly aware of the need to maintain the racial balance in Singapore’s population in order to preserve social stability and harmony.

I would like to assure the Member that the pace and profile of our immigration intake have been, and will continue to be, calibrated to preserve this racial balance."

Faishal, who is the Minister of State for Home Affairs, also addressed Gan's follow-up question about the current racial proportions in Singapore.

Over the past 10 years, Faishal said, the proportion of Singapore's citizens is made up of 76 per cent Chinese ethnicity, 15 per cent Malay, 7.5 per cent Indian, and "others" at 1.5 per cent, according to the CMIO classification system.

Debate on CMIO classification

Parliament recently saw a debate over the aim of a "race-blind society", with Workers' Party MP Sylvia Lim making it her first speech of the 14th Parliament on Sep. 1.

Lim noted the government's stance that the CMIO system was necessary to ensure minority rights are safeguarded, but she said the concept of minority rights is in itself "problematic", and it would be better to talk about "citizenship rights."

Lim added that with more inter-racial marriages, she wondered if the CMIO system can "withstand the test of time."

In his own speech, two days after Lim's, 2nd Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education Maliki Osman said that "genuine differences and contexts" across races exist, but they need to be recognised and accommodated to allow a positive sense of racial identity to develop.

Maliki also touched on the CMIO system, saying that respecting and understanding these differences is to be "truly Singaporean", and getting rid of the classification does not mean "we will become more Singaporean."

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Top image from CNA's YouTube channel.