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Published: Sunday December 29, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 29, 2013 MYT 7:52:30 AM

Minister: Little India rioters stayed in approved conditions

THE workers allegedly involved in the Little India riot were staying in approved dormitories, according to Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

“While substandard worker housing does exist here, the rioters stayed in those which meet official standards,” he told Bloomberg TV in an interview aired on Friday.

“From what is known so far, the workers had no particular employment disputes that may have contributed to the riot,” he said in the interview, which also covered issues such as productivity and politics.

On foreign labour curbs, he said these were similar to government policies to cool a strong property market: “You don’t know exactly at which point it will bite and you don’t want to overdo it.”

He added that the curbs seemed to be taking effect. As the economy restructures, there are some “positive glimpses” in productivity figures for the third quarter of this year.

When asked what former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew’s “deepest imprint” on Singapore was, Tan named a largely corruption-free system and a government “prepared to make the calls”.

Even as Singapore evolves and political pressures mount, the government remains mindful of the danger of becoming populist.

“Listening to people, engaging, isn’t about being populist,” he noted. “But making a policy, still believing that it’s in the best interests of the people, remains sacrosanct.”

However, he does not resent the changing landscape. “A questioning, challenging electorate keeps us on our toes.

“As for the People’s Action Party itself, it still has the support of many,” he added.

Meanwhile, civil society group Workfair Singapore has called on the Committee of Inquiry, set up to investigate the riot, to deliberate in public and at a publicly accessible venue. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: ST


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