PM Lee: Little India riots were 'very grave incident'

Little India Riot: Political office-holders urge calm in Facebook posts

SINGAPORE - In the wake of Sunday night's riot in Little India, the Prime Minister, President and other political office-holders have taken to Facebook to urge calm and reassure the public that justice will be done.

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for all Singaporeans to remain calm and contribute any information they had of the Little India riots to the police.

In a Facebook posting on Monday morning, PM Lee called the riots 'a very grave incident'. He said that several police officers were injured, adding that culprits would be identified and dealt with severely with the full force of the law.

He said:

"The Little India riot last night was a very grave incident. Several police officers were injured, and vehicles damaged or destroyed. The situation is now under control, and investigations are underway. Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.

"I urge all Singaporeans to stay calm. Do send the Police any information, photos or videos of the incident that you may have. I also wish the injured officers a full and speedy recovery."

Member of Parliament for Moulmein-Kallang GRC Yaacob Ibrahim also said on Monday morning:

"The safety of our residents was the top of our concern when the Little India riot happened right in our constituency. Fortunately, the Police have brought the situation under control. Tuck Yew also had visited the site last night and again this morning to Race Course Road and Tekka Market area. I urge residents and businesses in Little India to go on with their lives and businesses as normal, as the Police work hard to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"While we do not condone such unlawful acts by some individuals, let us also remember that the foreign workers in Singapore are by and large law abiding people. They are here to earn a living and to support their families in their home countries. It is a delicate and on-going effort to take care of the concerns of the residents and manage the needs of the foreign workers.

"My fellow MPs and I will continue to strive to make Moulmein-Kallang Community a safe and pleasant home for all our residents. My heartfelt thanks also go to the Police and SCDF officers and officers from the Gurkha Contingent at the scene to manage the situation. I wish the injured officers a full and speedy recovery."

President Tony Tan said he was deeply concerned about the violence displayed.

In a Facebook update, he urged for Singaporeans to not let the incident undermine their confidence in the society. He said:

"Like all Singaporeans, I was deeply concerned by the violence in Little India last night.

"People were injured, including those who acted in the line of duty. They and all the other members of our Home Team put themselves at risk to uphold the law and order that we often take for granted.

"We should not let a single incident such as this undermine confidence in our society. Instead, let us redouble our commitment to keeping Singapore safe, peaceful and strong."

Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran visited the Little India site on Monday morning. He said in a Facebook post:

"The riot in Little India is a serious incident. It started from a fatal traffic accident involving a private bus and a pedestrian. A crowd reacted to the accident and started a riot. Several Police and SCDF officers were injured, and a number of Police and SCDF vehicles were burnt and damaged.

"DPM Teo and I visited the scene of the incident this morning at 1am. We then held a press conference at 2 am. The Police have the situation under control and have arrested a number of suspects. Police investigations are ongoing.

"Meanwhile, Police are monitoring the situation in the various foreign worker dormitories and areas where foreign workers gather. The foreign workers in Singapore are by and large, law abiding individuals who are here to earn a living and to support their families in their home countries. This incident is the the result of the unlawful actions of some individuals.

"The Government will not tolerate such lawless behavior. Police will investigate the matter thoroughly and deal with the persons involved strictly, firmly, and fairly according to our laws.

"I urge everyone to remain calm, not react to speculation or rumors, and allow the Police investigations to establish the facts.

Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin also posted status updates via his Facebook page.

At around midnight, he urged the public to remain calm.

He said: Our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the person who lost his life in the accident. And our best wishes to our 10 officers who were injured in the line of duty.

"Keep calm and encourage all Singaporeans to not add to the emotional climate. Our officers from our Home Team continue to have to maintain peace and stability in the days ahead.

"We can all do our part."

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck also urged the public to remain calm in an early morning update.

Mr Teo said: Police has brought the situation under control in Little India. They will take further action and do what is necessary. Lets give our support to them and help by not speculating on the incident. It's a sensitive matter and we should let the Ministry and Police handle it. We can stay calm and help others to do so as well. Thank you.