PM Lee: Singaporeans Commit More Crime than Foreign Workers

PM Lee finally spoke about the Little India Riot. For the benefit of the non Chinese, I'll transcribe the interview aired by the news yesterday as accurately as I can. I'm not proficient in my Mandarin so correct me if I was wrong.

"We should not generalise a group because of some individuals. I don't think that is fair or justifiable because their (foreign workers) crime rates are, in fact, lower than Singaporeans in general."

Word for word, it seems pretty clear cut for me the point our Prime Minister was trying to put across. The published statistics on crime rates in Singapore do not provide any breakdown of the data by demographics, so there is no way to verify PM Lee's claims. We wouldn't know if PM Lee was referring to the total crime counts, crimes committed per 1000 people, types of crimes etc. That is the problem when we do not have free information rightful available to the public. So those who have access to it can say anything they want and for those without, sued for doing so.

No, I am not being defensive because I am a Singaporean and my Prime Minister just told the world that my people commits more crimes than foreign workers. While we are on the topic of generalising and being fair, let's add in rationality and common sense as well. In Singapore, we have a wide array of activities defined as crimes, such as littering, chewing a gum or peeing in the lift. These crimes would be regarded as anti-social acts in most countries. Let's just call these petty crimes for illustration purposes.

I worked in the LTA HQ premises at Hampshire Road a few years back. Every evening, I would use the MRT underpass at Little India Station to get to the other side of Bukit Timah Road where I would take Bus 67 back to Choa Chu Kang. Along the way to the station, I would walk pass a few small plots of green spaces abutting Race Course Road and found the entire field littered with bottle caps. That reminded me of Singapore in the 1980s, where kids collected bottle caps to play, widely available on the street as most soft drinks were bottled in glass those days. These days you could hardly find any in most heartland neighbourhoods around Singapore. So how do we have a field of bottle caps these days? Take a walk around Race Course Road to see the extent of it yourself, observe and make a fair best guess who were the 'criminals' in this case.  I wouldn't elaborate on uncivilise acts committed by foreign workers. One has to do a simple search in local forums or STOMP to see how often foreigners are snapped for taking a dump or peeing in unauthorised area. Look, I am not implying Singaporeans do not commit petty crimes. If we were to talk about dirtying public places, we just need to head to the pubs and watch how our youth Merlion the streets with their dinner/alcohol concoction. Now, imagine if NEA officers did their job better and enforced every single such crimes, where would the statistics balance tilt towards?

Moderate crimes. Crimes that cause inconvenience, moderate grief and loss of properties such as shop lifting, vandalising and theft etc. The hardcore crimes that really hurt, murder, riots, arson etc. Without free information, there is nothing to talk about here but I know the who committed the latest riot in Singapore. I would seem like a defensive Singaporean parent who refuses to believe the atrocities their kids committed in school if I were to say Singaporeans are unlikely to commit crimes. I am not arguing that PM Lee's statement was wrong without proper figures but I believe crime rates should be even between Singaporeans and foreigner workers at worse, not even taking into consideration that some terms that Singaporeans are commonly associated with are "kiasi, kiasu, kia cheng hu", "law by law" and are often labelled "stupid" by foreigners for our "go by book" nature. As foreigners overseas, Singaporeans generally do not have problems finding employment because of our reputation as being efficient, honest and reliable. Does reputation counts? Ask the PAP government, who has a reputation to be corrupt-free.

Indians, on the other hand.

They are known to be difficult, all over the world. In Australia for instance, the India community have had bouts of pubic unrest in the Eastern states. While the Australian is known to be "racist", just ask any of their respective opinion towards an Indian and a Singaporean and hear what they say. Same "racist", both Asian nationalities, different sentiments. Why? Just yesterday, my Indonesian worker who spent his last 25 years in Australia, told me employers are generally reluctant to hire Indian workers because they were involved in many cases of insurance frauds in the past where they got themselves injured at work, claim Worker's Compensation and got their companies into trouble. I apologize for citing a loose story which is not sufficient to substantiate any claims but my question is why? What is the reason behind so the unsavory sentiments towards them that it seems that the whole world is racist towards them?

Like our PM said, let's not generalise them. Let's just talk about the foreign Indian workers we knew and worked with in Singapore.

I worked at constructions sites during my days in Singapore and I am confident to say I rubbed shoulders with more Indian workers than PM Lee would in his entire lifetime. Fights in the work place among foreign workers were very common, any in the industry would attest to that. I can put my head down and tell you fights that involved Singaporeans were extremely rare and would be a big topic around if any. While this does not prove that Singaporeans are less likely to be criminals (let's not pretend Singaporeans are angels) than other nationalities, it was as clear as a sky to me who would be the ones who tend to use violent to settle their animosity. Since we are in the topic of the riot, we do not expect our Prime Minister to bring up other non-related crimes that Singaporeans committed. If only the reporter asked the PM since he claimed that Singaporeans have a higher crime rate, who did he think would be the people likely to be involved in the next riot in Singapore? I would love to hear his reply.

If Singaporeans are guilty for any crime worse than a riot in almost half a century, that would be voting in a xenophilia government who does not or attempt to know or love their people well.


  1. I feel the stmt made by PM is too general. What does he mean by "crimes?" Is littering or urinating in public places a crime? Most of these foreign workers are in the construction industry. Hence they had no chance to commit cheating or fraud etc. if you look at domestic helpers, most of the theft cases are committed by them - petty thefts. What about crime of passion like murders where it cuts all barriers with foreigners likelyhood much less. It's quite debatable unless there's a breakdown of the crime figures. The opposition should raise this question in parliament to clear the air.

  2. "Indians, on the other hand."
    That in itself is a generalization. I know plenty of Indians who are well adjusted, educated, and intelligent. I am not going to condemn a whole country or race, based on the actions of 400, and a few others you met in your lifetime.
    "While this does not prove that Singaporeans are less likely to be criminals (let's not pretend Singaporeans are angels) than other nationalities, it was as clear as a sky to me who would be the ones who tend to use violent to settle their animosity. "
    It's also clear to me that you are generalizing based on your limited experience. You have no proof, statistic, or evidence to state any claim, other than your own personal xenophobic and racist experiences, which counts for very little credibility. Should I then assume based on my experience based on your comments, that "it is clear to me which ones" are xenophobic, racist, and dumb? You are an embarrassment for spreading such filth.

    1. Thank you for reading. Your well adjusted, educated and intelligent Indian friends will never start a riot, the same goes for the indoctrinated Singaporeans of today. You will have to admit the Indian foreign workers are an entirely group of people and that is what the post is talking about. Please do not put words in my mouth or be too imaginative. I work together with foreign workers for years, treat them as my friends and am still in contact with a few of them. If you want to call that xenophobic or racist, by all means, it doesn't bother me. My foreign workers friends will be more than happy to vouch for me and tell you honestly who are the usual fighters at the work place over a cup of over (your treat) if you want to know. There are more truths that my post offered than a sentence than you picked on. While I may have limited life experience, it doesn't make yours richer in this context.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I second ABlessedSingaporean's experience of Indian IT people -- I used to work alongside with them. IMHO, only a minority (say 10%) are up-to-standard, the rest @-) -- let's just say that I learned a lot about "different perspectives".

    2. Agree with you. At least from pm lee statement, we know he is not with Singaporeans. He is not a true leader. I find Singaporeans Indian really friendly and humble, but not so from India who are mostly argumentative and rude.

  4. Funny huh, Singapore is the only nation in world whose citizens are discriminated by the very own govt we elect. We get blame for birth rate, xenophobia, FT crime, insult and etc. We are always branded as a ungrateful lot. I wonder who is the ungrateful one.

  5. Whether it is per 100,000, total % or absolute numbers, the fact is Singaporeans have a higher crime rate. This is usually true in most countries where locals have a higher % or absolute number in crime rate. Criminals in Singapore about 70-90% at any given time are locals. These statistics can be found at Singstat or SPF site.