MINISTER of State for Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman has weighed in on the issue of Malays in the Singapore Armed Forces, saying Malay servicemen have made significant progress.
"Our Malay servicemen have made significant progress in all the services in the SAF based on their capabilities and merits, and I am confident many more will do so in the future," Dr Maliki said, in comments to Malay language daily Berita Harian published today.
His comments came as Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said at a forum on Monday night that Malays now serve as sailors on board navy ships, and that the SAF does not discriminate against anyone and promotes men based on their ability.
Dr Ng had been asked why Malays were previously excluded from the navy.
The issue of Malays not being deployed in certain Singapore Armed Forces units and under-represented among the SAF's top ranks has been an issue in the community.
Yesterday, Dr Maliki - the first Malay political office-holder in the Defence Ministry - said the Malay community continues to make positive contributions to Singapore, including in the area of defence and security.
"I have met many Malay servicemen in every service and formation in the SAF, including as fighter pilots, commandos, and naval combat systems operators," he said.
"Whether they are regulars, NSFs or NSmen, all of them serve with pride.
Many have also contributed to the SAF's overseas missions in Afghanistan and Timor Leste," he added.
Dr Maliki also noted that at the recent SAF50@Vivo exhibition to celebrate Singapore's jubilee, he met several Malay servicemen serving in the navy.
He said: "Together with their non-Malay colleagues, they play an important role in keeping our sea and shore safe, round the clock."
This article was first published on Feb 18, 2015.
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