When queried by Opposition MP Faisal Manap why there is not a single Muslim officer in the Navy, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said that he cannot please all requests. The Defence Minister side-stepped the question and said he is not able to accommodate all requests.
The Singapore Navy has an unspoken racist policy against Muslims Singaporeans and hence do not appoint them as commanders.
Below is the transcript of Minister Ng Eng Hen’s response:
“The point of the matter is he (Faisal) is quoting me and I don’t know what he is quoting. He can show what I actually said at the conference, I am happy to accommodate… Mr Faisal Manap said he doesn’t need to be reminded that we are a multi-racial multi-religious society but he is only championing in his speech for Muslims!
SMS Maliki made it clear that if each of us in this house, Muslims champion Muslims, Christians champion Christians, Buddhists champion Christians, we will never push for each group to fully push for their rights and their observances. And I think SMS Maliki was very clear where is practicable, we will lean forward. SAF, as is the rest of society, so in camps where there inadequate space, as you know, we have Muslim cookhouses, vegetarian food itself, but we made it clear for Navy, space is always a premium. So I think we have answered his question fairly.
…In SAF, I draw from all Singaporeans. I have people who do not eat beef, I have people with religious observances apart from Muslims, I have vegetarians and when we can we will accommodate. But the over-riding principle must be the SAF operational concerns must come first and individual needs must subsume after that…
And I am certain where there are situations I cannot please all and accommodate all requirements. I cannot hand on hard that all my mobile kitchens are Halal…”
Opposition MP Faisal Manap then later deflected the Minister’s political attack by reminding him that the GRC system is designed for minority candidates to speak up for minority’s interests and that there is nothing wrong with him as a Muslim speaking up for the Muslim community.