Labour chief: Don't let radicals sully foreign workers' contributions

The actions of the 27 radicalised Bangladeshi foreign workers must not taint the contributions of other law-abiding foreign workers here, labour chief Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Office said in a Facebook post that efforts to integrate these workers must be strengthened.

He said: "(The) majority of the foreign workers here contribute positively to the growth and development of our nation. As such, we must be careful not to let the actions of these radicalised foreign workers taint the positive contributions of other law-abiding foreign workers who live harmoniously among us.

"We must strengthen our efforts to integrate foreign workers and guard against ostracising them."

He added that the incident also cannot be allowed to affect the strong ties with Muslim Singaporeans, "as religious harmony is the cornerstone to our unique heritage in Singapore".

The 27 were arrested under the Internal Security Act between Nov 16 and Dec 1 last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

Investigations showed that they supported the armed jihad ideology of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Helmy Isa, director of mosques at the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, said that over the years, Bangladeshis have become part of and embraced by the diverse mosque congregation here.

"They perform prayers regularly at the mosques and also volunteer their time in helping the mosques in noble work such as preparing for and cleaning up after iftar during Ramadan as well as during other Islamic festivals such as Korban," he added.

"We do hope that the discovery of the heinous plan by the group does not tarnish the good image of our Bangladeshi workers."

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said terrorism is a continuing threat that can have a grave impact on everyone.

"I appeal that we be more vigilant, whether against radical teachings and ideologies, or of any suspicious activities around us," he added.

"All of us, regardless of race, language or religion, have a role to play. With solidarity and strong bonds of trust, I am confident we can overcome these threats as one people."

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