Which Has Posed the Greatest Problem for Singaporean in Ensuring Social Harmony – Racial Differences, Religious Differences or the Threat of Transnational Terrorism? Explain You Answer.

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In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Singapore, there is a need to manage the racial and religious sensitivities and promote tolerance and harmony. In addition, there is also the need to build national identity by instilling a sense of belonging. Therefore, there is a need to identify the most important problem out of the three and then solve it. The first problem is managing the perceptions of different racial groups. There is a need to manage this problem as preconceived notions of biased treatment by the government against any racial group could lead to the outbreak of violence among the different communities. For example, in 1964, Singapore experienced race riots which resulted in 36 dead and 590 injured. Singapore was in Malaysia then, and the UMNO felt threatened when the PAP participated in the 1964 Federal elections. The UMNO then led an anti-PAP campaign in the medium using the Utusan Melayu, claiming that PAP’s rule disadvantaged the Malays and that Malay Singaporeans remained poor under PAP’s rule. They also claimed that PAP was uprooting Malay families in resettlement projects. Some UMNO extremists even came to Singapore and made fiery speeches that angered many Singaporean Malays. In July 1964, during the celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, a clash between a Chinese policeman and a group of Malay participants turned into a full-blown race riot over the next few days. This shows how the perceptions of unequal treatment towards the different races can cause suspicions, distrust and even hostility among Singaporeans, even if these perceptions are not based on facts. Therefore, this problem must be managed to prevent any outbreak of violence among citizens. The second problem is managing the perceptions of different religious groups. There is a need to do this as differences in religious beliefs and practices are issues that can create tension among people in Singapore, especially if it has been perceived that the concerns of a...
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