The under representation of a minority

There’s been a lot of chatter online about the under representation of Malays in some sectors of the Armer Forces, mainly the Navy.

It does seem however that there’s an overwhelming number of Malays in the Home Team, serving in the SPF and SCDF respectively. It’s rare for a minority to make up most of the numbers in two separate forces but see a lack of participation in the main bulk.

Some would utter that it’s common “understanding” that because our neighbours are Muslim countries, and with almost the entire population of Malays in Singapore being Muslims it might be a conflict of interest if war were to ever break out. It’s something I’ve heard before in my time in SCDF, I’m not Malay although I am from another minority group.

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Workers’ Party’s Member of Parliament Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap raised a parliamentary question yesterday (7 Apr) on the lack of halal food onboard ships in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). This deprived Muslim men from serving in RSN ships he said.

In replying to him, Senior Minister of State for Defence, Maliki Osman said:

“The preparation of halal foods require strict adherence to the religious stipulations governing the food stalls, preparation and even storage. So for Navy ships, space is always a premium — which needs to be maximised and prioritised — for key operational requirements in terms of combat systems and equipment spares.”

 

It has been 50 years since independence, and Singapore’s society is made up of four ethnic groups, so it should seem fair to have all ethnicities represent our country’s defence equally. Also, it isn’t impossible to prepare Halal food onboard a vessel, there are Islamic nations with their own Navy.

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However if dietary restrictions or exclusions are an issue it is understandable that it would be difficult to accommodate everyone. Other religions do have their own dietary restrictions but none with a more strict adherence then the preparation of Halal food.

So it’s a yay to inclusion of our Malay brothers and sisters in any of the forces they wish to serve in. But its a fine line in ensuring that all adherences are met too.

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