SINGAPORE - The Defence Ministry is looking into allegations made by a Netizen about Republic of Singapore Navy sailors making derogatory remarks about a Muslim colleague onboard their ship.
The woman, who claims to be the girlfriend of the Chinese-Muslim navy regular, accused the sailors of using labels like "Muslim" and "terrorist" to address him, instead of his name.
She also alleged that the men onboard teased her boyfriend about not eating pork.
The taunts were allegedly started by a "high-ranking officer" onboard the ship, the woman claimed. It is not known when she posted the comments on her Instagram account.
Her post was carried on a Malay socio-political website, www.rilek1corner.com. It also made its way into online forums and The Reservist community FaceBook page.
Attempts to find the original post were not successful as it is believed it has been taken down. The woman also cannot be reached.
The Defence Ministry said on its Cyberpioneer FaceBook page on Tuesday that it takes such allegations seriously as it "impacts public trust and undermines the strong public support for National Service(NS) and the SAF".
"Mindef/SAF does not tolerate any discriminatory behaviour and is investigating to determine the facts of the case.
"We take a serious view of the conduct of our servicemen. If any service personnel is found to have breached our Code of Conduct, disciplinary proceedings will be convened and the necessary actions will be taken," said the Cyberpioneer post.
The allegations follow Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen's disclosure in February that Malays are now deployed aboard ships as sailors who go out to sea .
Previously, Malays in the navy were only posted as "sea soldiers", who primarily patrolled naval bases.
Responding to the question on why Malays had previously been excluded from the navy, Dr Ng had said that it was a "practical issue" of having halal-certified kitchens aboard ships. "(This is) because in a confined space, it is hard to have a halal kitchen. If you spend months out at sea, it is difficult."
But provisions have been made for Malay Muslims who are willing to serve, said Ng. "So we made and found some accommodation and started to have Malays in the navy as well, if the person is willing."
He also reiterated that Malays now serve in the army, navy and air force, adding that with Singapore's small population, the SAF does not discriminate against anyone and promotes its servicemen based on their ability.
This article was first published on Aug 19, 2015.
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