Perceptions of different racial groups
When there is a lack of understanding, perceptions such as suspicion can arise and lead to unhappiness and if this is not corrected, it can lead to violence and chaos. One example was the 1964 race riots which started because PAP did not give special privileges to the Malays. UMNO felt threatened and incited anti-PAP sentiments by focusing on the Malay poverty. This was further heightened by Utusan Melayu which played up on the resettlement programme of the Malays from Kallang River and West Coast. The paper claimed that about 3,000 Malay families were affected by the resettlement programme stretching from Crawford, Kampong Glam to Rochor. In reality, on 200 out of the 2,500 families were Malays. Even though the government made the attempt to explain the situation to the Malays, UMNO had an earlier meeting which incited anti-PAP feelings. This then erupted in the 1964 riots. So the different perception held by the Malays and the government was manipulated by the political party and media. How was this difference in perception managed?
Goodwill committees were set up. The goodwill committees were made up of community leaders from the various racial groups. The main job of these leaders was to help restore harmony and peace between the Malays and the Chinese by addressing the concerns of the residents.
Also the Deputy Premier, Dr. Toh Chin Chye, suggested on 2 August 1964 that legislation be introduced to prohibit newspapers from publishing articles which incite communal strife.
Further reading and comparison : Paris riots in October 2005 Perceptions of different religious groups
Differences in religious beliefs and practices can create tensions if they are not managed well. Case Study
Maria Hertogh riots which took place between ethnic Malays and the European and Eurasian communities in Singapore occurred on 11 December 1950. It was sparked by the controversial custody battle between Maria's adoptive...
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