DPM Teo responds to calls on hijab, explains need to maintain social harmony

DPM Teo responds to calls on hijab, explains need to maintain social harmony

SINGAPORE - The Government has responded to mounting calls that it allow Muslim women to don the hijab or head scarf in all workplaces, saying that it understands those views but has a responsibility to balance the varied needs of different communities with what is necessary to maintain social harmony in Singapore.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Full statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs:

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's comments on the hijab issue

In English:

Dr Yaacob and the Malay/Muslim MPs have raised the hijab issue on a number of occasions, along with other issues which the community sees as important.

We support the aspirations Minister Yaacob had expressed in his statement last week.

Government understands these community perspectives, but the Government also has the responsibility to balance all these different community requirements, and keep in mind what we need to maintain overall social harmony.

Every community when it presses for its own concerns, must bear in mind how that affects other communities and how others might see it.

That is the reality of living in a multi-racial, multi-religious society that we all have to internalise.

We have been able to enjoy a peaceful and harmonious society, and also the many freedoms that all religions have in Singapore, because our communities understand the need to balance what each wants, and have been moderate and restrained in accommodating one another.

I hope this will continue well into the future.

In Malay:

Dr Yaacob dan Anggota-anggota Parlimen (AP) Melayu/Islam telah membangkitkan isu hijab beberapa kali, bersama-sama isu lain yang dianggap penting oleh masyarakat Melayu/Islam.

Kami menyokong aspirasi yang dinyatakan Menteri Yaacob minggu lepas.

Pemerintah memahami perspektif-perspektif setiap masyarakat, namun pemerintah mempunyai tanggungjawab untuk mengimbangi keperluan-keperluan yang berlainan ini, dan mengambil kira apa yang diperlukan untuk menjaga keharmonian sosial keseluruhannya.

Apabila setiap masyarakat menegaskan keinginannya, masyarakat itu harus ingat bagaimana ia memberi kesan kepada masyarakat lain dan bagaimana mereka melihatnya.

Itulah realiti hidup dalam masyarakat berbilang bangsa, berbilang agama - yang perlu kita fahami dan dalami.

Kita menghargai betapa banyaknya kebebasan yang dinikmati semua agama di Singapura.

Kita telah menikmati keamanan dan keharmonian dalam masyarakat Singapura kerana semua pihak memahami dan menerima keperluan untuk mengimbangi keinginan masyarakat masing-masing.

Kita sentiasa bersikap sederhana dan mengawal perasaan dalam bertolak-ansur antara satu sama lain.

Saya harap hal ini akan berterusan pada masa depan.

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