In the aftermath of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s announcement yesterday that the Presidential Election 2017 will be reserved for Malays only, Singapore’s online realm has been flooded with angry comments from almost all factions of society, regardless of race or religion.
But what’s perhaps most jarring for the government is the opposition it has faced from the Malay community itself, with many making a stand that they don’t want to be given preferential treatment.
This, despite ministers like Yaacob Ibrahim publicly announcing the exact contrast – that Malays welcome the move.
The frightening thing for the government of the day is most of the comments do not revolve around Tan Cheng Bock, whom many believe eligibility criteria changes were made to keep out, hence the popular hashtag #tanchengblocked.
Rather, comments focused on the much-vaunted aspect of meritocracy, which the PAP government has been preaching since it came to the fore in 1959.
People – Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian or otherwise – feel the move is simply 2 steps back and no step forward at all when it comes to this value.
But let’s just look at a snippet of the feeling emanating from the Malay community.
Be warned, this is not for faint-hearted people like Yaacob who persist in deluding themselves that Singapore Malays are shiny happy people who are content with being tossed a bone.