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Politics and ethnicity: Framing racial discrimination in Singapore

Gomez, James (2010) Politics and ethnicity: Framing racial discrimination in Singapore. In: The Third International Conference on International Studies (ICIS 2010), 1st-2nd December 2010, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur. College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia. , Sintok, pp. 1-14. ISBN 9789832078456

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Racial discrimination is a global phenomenon that the United Nations seeks to eradicate. In contemporary Singapore, research shows that the basis for racial discrimination is anchored in the role of ethnic identity and how it frames the formulation of policies related to education, employment, housing, immigration and politics. These policies have been formulated and implemented by the People‟s Action Party (PAP) government that has been in power for over 50 years. When confronted with its racially based policies, the PAP government insists that it follows a tolerant approach towards different races and that it propagates the idea of multiculturalism and meritocracy as a racial equaliser. However ethnic minorities in Singapore complain they are being discriminated daily on the basis of their race or religion. They argue their views are often not given airing in the local mainstream media and are further prevented from discussing these issues openly due to legislations restricting freedom of expression and assembly on these matters. Given this background, the first ever visit of the UN Rapporteur on Racism to Singapore at the invitation of the PAP government in April 2010, allowed the city-state‟s racialist based policies to be put on an international spotlight. This paper examines the visit of UN Rapporteur, his initial findings, government and civil society responses and the significance of this first UN mission. The paper locates its research on racial discrimination in the context of Singapore‟s political framework and the United Nations efforts to eradicate racism. It argues that ultimately policy changes in Singapore can only take place as a result of politically challenging the PAP government.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Jointly organised by Ministry of Higher Education, UUM College of Law, Government & International Studies (UUM COLGIS) and Association of International Studies Malaysia (AIS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnic identity, racial discrimination, public policy, Singapore, United Nations
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: College of Law, Government and International Studies
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2011 08:46
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2011 04:22

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