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Woman jailed 4 weeks for shouting racist slurs at bus passenger for over 6 minutes

SINGAPORE — A 40-year-old Singaporean woman was jailed for four weeks on Wednesday (June 23) after verbally abusing another woman with racist remarks while they were both traveling on a bus last year.

Woman jailed 4 weeks for shouting racist slurs at bus passenger for over 6 minutes

Siti Ai’sha Jaffar shouted racist remarks at another bus passenger for more than six minutes.

SINGAPORE — A 40-year-old Singaporean woman was jailed for four weeks on Wednesday (June 23) after verbally abusing another woman with racist remarks while they were both traveling on a bus last year.

Siti Ai’sha Jaffar pleaded guilty to one count of uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the victim’s racial feelings. 

The victim, Ms Danaletchmi Selvam, 33, is a Singaporean of Indian ethnicity.

The court heard that Ms Danaletchmi boarded SBS bus service 182 at Tuas Checkpoint on Sept 3 last year and sat at the back of the lower deck. 

Siti, who was the only other passenger then, sat close to the front of the bus.

Ms Danaletchmi was listening to music through her headphones when she noticed Siti staring and pointing at her several times.

When she switched off the music, she heard Siti shouting racially charged remarks at her and calling her an “Indian with dark skin”, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kwang Jia Min told the court.

Ms Danaletchmi then discreetly recorded the incident with her mobile phone.

Two of the three video clips she had taken, which totalled more than six minutes in length, were played in court. 

The videos showed Siti saying things such as “Your heart is also black” and “Indians don’t dream of living in condominiums, don’t dream of living in big houses”.

She also made several references to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as Singapore belonging to the “Lee family”.

She told Ms Danalectchmi at one point to “Go back to your ****ing country, your native country is India, not Singapore”. 

After a short while, Ms Danaletchmi approached Siti and confronted her, asking her if anything was wrong.

Siti responded by spouting more racial slurs. Ms Danaletchmi then called the police and told the bus driver to stop the bus close to the Singapore Discovery Centre, along the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

DPP Kwang sought two to four weeks’ jail, noting that Siti’s tirade was entirely unprovoked and that it was quite clear that the remarks were meant for Ms Danaletchmi.

The prosecutor also stressed that there was a heightened need for general deterrence in the current climate with “recent incidents of people receiving in-your-face racist displays”.

When asked by District Judge Tan Jen Tse if she had anything to say in mitigation, Siti said that she did not. 

In sentencing her, the judge told the court that it was a “very serious offence” and that a deterrent sentence was warranted to prevent Siti and like-minded offenders from committing such acts.

“In no way can this sort of offence… be condoned in society,” he added.

Siti could have been jailed for up to three years or fined, or both.

Siti, who has been in remand since she absconded while out on bail, is likely to be released immediately as her sentence was backdated to May 28. 

Related topics

court crime xenophobia racist verbal abuse bus

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