Indian community concerned about job discrimination

Indian community concerned about job discrimination

SINGAPORE - Employment discrimination was a key concern raised by Indian community leaders at a closed-door dialogue, said Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

It is an issue the minorities are most sensitive to, "and I think it's a perception that we must address head-on", he told reporters after the session on Wednesday.

"So the moves that MOM (the Manpower Ministry) is considering on fair employment will be of great interest to the Indian community," he said.

The three-hour dialogue with the minister and MPs Hri Kumar Nair, Vikram Nair and Janil Puthucheary was to gather the views and concerns of the Indian community about issues raised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the annual National Day Rally nearly a fortnight ago.

Several among the 300 grassroots leaders and residents also felt there could have been greater mention of the Indian community by Mr Lee.

But such calls for greater visibility for Indians at the rally were not new, said Dr Balakrishnan.

The community would feel more reassured that the Prime Minister was also paying attention to them if he "would mention either more role models, or acknowledgement of social issues, or even problems the community is facing".

But the community has done well and has a secure place in Singapore, he added.

"We are the only country in the world where Tamil is an official language," he said.

Questions on changes in education policy were also plentiful.

Co-curricular programme executive Pamela Sandanasamy, 33, hopes the Direct School Admission scheme will be implemented soon. The mother of two girls in primary school told The Straits Times: "Placing more weight on character building will make our children more well-rounded."

The scheme will look beyond sports and the arts to include a student's character, resilience and leadership.

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