KUALA LUMPUR - A survey on the needs, concerns and aspirations of Malays in Singapore has revealed the minority group's sentiments.
The six-month exercise, the results of which were made public last month, tells of the community's sense of belonging in the republic, their state of economy and social consciousness.
It revealed that while the Malays had a strong sense of cultural, religious and national identity, they felt they were not fully accepted as part of their own country.
Among their key concerns included the notion of a limited Malay participation in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
Discrimination at the workplace was also an issue among the community, with some jobs barring Malay women from wearing headscarves.
The 70-page survey by the Suara Musyawarah independent committee also revealed that some felt that the Malays were being left out of "elite or sensitive" parts of the SAF, such as commandos, armour and air defence, and excluded from naval ships.
"Participants said they were not satisfied with one or two 'poster boys' to show that Malays can thrive in SAF," Suara Musyawarah committee chairman Sallim Abdul Kadir, 57, told Singapore's The Sunday Times (ST), adding that the survey was based on anecdotes and feelings within the community without accompanying statistics.
The community's "sense of belonging" was among three key themes derived from the findings.
The survey was initiated last year when Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim announced the formation of a committee to hear from the republic's Malays.
The newspaper, quoting leaders of Suara Musyawarah, said the report "melded fact with feelings in an unvarnished, straight-from-the-heart narrative of what concerns the community".
Yaacob was expected to comment on these "conversations with the community" by this week.
The ST story compared the survey results against a 2010 census, which pointed out that Singaporean Malays lagged behind in terms of home ownership and household income.