Tuesday, 19 February 2013

New citizens from Philippines not listed as Malay

By Andrea Ong, The Straits Times, 18 Feb 2013

THE Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has dismissed categorically speculation that new Singapore citizens of Filipino origin are being classified as Malay.

There had been renewed talk among the Malay-Muslim community after the release of the Population White Paper that the Government might be resorting to such classification to ensure that the racial mix here remains constant.

During the recent parliamentary debate on the White Paper, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari asked about rumours that Filipinos are being categorised as Malays because both groups allegedly share historical roots.

"Is this true? If it is true, this would mean that even though the percentage is maintained, the identity and the meaning of the label 'Malay' will change," he said.

In a letter to The Straits Times Forum page, the ICA said: "This is not true. New Singapore citizens of Filipino origin are not classified as Malays.

"They are typically classified as 'Others' under the race category."

During the debate, Mr Zainal and Malay MPs also raised concerns that a shrinking Singaporean core would lead to a smaller Malay-Muslim share of the population.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responded that the proportion of Malays among citizens will not change even as the population grows.

Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said on Facebook that he was glad ICA had cleared up the matter.

"I am glad that ICA has clarified today on the lingering doubts of the classification of new citizens from the Philippines.

"They are classified as Others and not as Malays as some would like to believe.

"Let us continue to strengthen our community resolve to build a better life for ourselves and our children," said Dr Yaacob, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

Similarly, when contacted, Mr Zainal said: "I'm glad they set the record straight."

The issue was also raised by a participant at a forum on the White Paper by the Association of Muslim Professionals last Friday.

Filipino migrants are 'Others'

PASIR Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari asked whether it was true that new Singapore citizens of Filipino origin are classified as Malays ("What about Malay migrants?"; Feb 8).

This is not true. They are typically classified as "Others" under the race category.

Vincent Ng
Head, Public & Internal Communications
Corporate Communications Division
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
ST Forum, 18 Feb 2013

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