- Govt will continue to help Malays, says Shanmugam
- Singaporeans have 'duty to be kind to foreign workers'
- One-stop online resource centre for parents
The Government is committed to helping the Malay community in Singapore, Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam (pic) said.
He was speaking as the guest of honour at a ceremony which gave out S$1.2mil (RM3.1mil) worth of bursaries to 789 students yesterday.
The annual event, which was held at ITE College Central this year, is organised by the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board, which has been giving out bursaries and scholarships to needy students of all races since 1965.
Shanmugam said the group's work has helped the Malay community make strides in the past decade.
He pointed out how last year, about nine in 10 Malay pupils who attended Primary 1 were admitted to post-secondary institutions, compared with about eight in 10 in 2003.
He also highlighted the accomplishments of Adil Hakeem Mohamad Rafee, who made history last year when he became the first Malay in 44 years to be awarded the President's Scholar-ship, Singapore's most prestigious undergraduate award.
However, Shanmugam said there was still cause for concern, including the small portion of pupils who do not pass the PSLE, and the divorce and drug abuse rates within the community.
He added that the Government, non-government groups, the Malay community as well as society in general have to pull together to tackle these issues.
"The Government has a laser-like focus to try and help the Malay community," he said, citing how the Government has a Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, and instituted the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund.
He revealed that other communities had questioned why they did not receive the same provisions.
"We've always taken the position that there are reasons why the Government gives additional support to the Malay community, and we will continue to give that, and please don't ask for equality. And they have accepted it." — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Singapore has laws to protect foreign workers' rights but citizens also have a responsibility to be kind and humane towards them, said Professor Chan Heng Chee.
Most people here already have a sense of decency, she said in opening remarks at a migrant workers' group event, and would help strangers in need and not begrudge the Government helping the poor and elderly.
This attribute should be cultivated and extended to how migrant workers are treated, according to Prof Chan, Singapore's Representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.
"It should not be the law that forces us to do so. We should treat them well, feed them adequately, allow rest time, and abuse of workers should be ruled out," she said at an event organised by the Humani-tarian Organisation for Migration Economics, or Home.
The event was held to train lawyers and volunteers from non-governmental organisations in advocating for migrants' rights.
Prof Chan said that Singaporeans by and large treat their maids well, and it was a small group of errant employers who were the problem.
She listed two other parties as having a role to play in ensuring migrant workers' rights – the hostcountry and the "sending" country.
Host governments need to pass laws and regulations to protect the welfare of migrant workers, said Prof Chan, who is also an ambassador-at-large. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Parents will soon get more help with infant care, such as how to sterilise milk bottles and change diapers, from an online portal launched by the People's Association.
The online portal aims to be a one-stop resource portal that will share best practices on infant care, said association chief executive director Ang Hak Seng.
It will include information such as the nearest babysitting services and paediatricians available to parents. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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