I wrote in a blogpost in Mar ’09
Singapore’s a country in which the government has had a hand, finger & fist in practically everything. Especially so in its promotion & propagation of its vision of a multi-racial country. Thus, its a sad commentary in itself when it takes 45 long years for a dedicated local Indian TV channel to materialise and 30 long years since its heydays to produce a Malay feature film.
To this i must now add
and it takes 44 long years for Singapore’s military to promote a Malay to the rank of general.
Singapore’s military promoted a Muslim Malay to the rank of general for the first time since the predominantly Chinese city-state broke away from Malaysia 44 years ago.
Army Colonel Ishak Ismail, 46, will become a one-star brigadier general on July 1, the Defense Ministry said in a statement late Thursday. Ismail is currently commander of the 6th Division.
The government strictly regulates public speech on race and religion, fearing any hint of sectarian conflict could undermine stability and prosperity in the tiny, multiethnic island and strain relations with neighboring Malaysia, where Malays are a majority. Political parties based on race or religion are not allowed.
Malays, who comprise about 14 percent of the 4.8 million population, trail ethnic Chinese in education and income. About 5.4 percent of Malays attend public university compared to 30 percent of Chinese, and Malay households earn a median monthly income of 3,050 Singapore dollars ($2,093), a third less than the SG$4,570 average that Chinese families make, according to the Education Ministry and Statistics Department.
Muslim Affairs Minister-in-charge Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also Environment and Water Resources Minister, told the state-owned Straits Times that the promotion showed that hard work and playing by the rules would bring rewards in a meritocratic society, the newspaper reported.
“No Malays should now feel like they can’t do it,” Ibrahim said, according to the paper.
Ibrahim declined further comment on the promotion through his spokesman Peer Akbur.
Malays are making strides in the security, education and health care sectors, said Jufferie Rashid, a spokesman for leading Malay association Yayasan MENDAKI.
“The promotion is the armed forces’ recognition of his contributions,” he said. “We are confident that with the improving educational profile, we will see even more Malay Muslim professionals in the future.”