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Tensions in Singapore rising due to growing pool of new immigrants, study shows

SINGAPORE — A recent study has confirmed tensions arising from the growing pool of new immigrants in Singapore.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — A recent study has confirmed tensions arising from the growing pool of new immigrants in Singapore.

The Indicators of Racial and Religious Harmony — put together by the Institute of Policy Studies and OnePeople.sg, the national body for racial harmony — showed that Singaporeans were less comfortable with new Singaporeans as their boss, employee, or neighbour.

The study covered some 5,000 local households.

It showed that 93.8 per cent of non-Chinese respondents are comfortable with having a Singaporean Chinese as their boss. The figure drops by nearly 20 percentage points when it comes to having a new immigrant from China as a boss.

Similarly, about 95 per cent of non-Chinese respondents said they are comfortable with having a locally-born Chinese as a neighbour. The figure drops by 14 percentage points when it comes to having a new immigrant from China as a neighbour.

The biggest gap came from Singaporeans’ comfort level with having new immigrants making up the majority of people in the country — only about 50 per cent of respondents are comfortable with that idea, with most preferring the status-quo when it comes to Singapore’s current racial mix.

Mr Zainudin Nordin, chairman of OnePeople.sg, said: “The reality is we are going through a major change in socio-economic situation in Singapore... There are people who are concerned about the differences that are happening because of these new arrivals.

“How then do we minimise those concerns — so rather than allowing people to do nasty things, allowing for people to take negative actions, allowing discrimination and even insults from happening in public places — how then do we now make the effort to ensure people come close together.

“The new arrivals and Singaporeans need to realise that we have a common destiny. That common destiny must be the reason why we need to work together and slowly we believe and build the trust. All of us must realise that this tension does exist and all of us must understand that we should not allow this to become a problem for us in the future, for the country to move to a better Singapore.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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