The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has refuted allegations that checks at MRT stations target the Malay community. In a statement made yesterday, the authority said that “such allegations are untrue, baseless, irresponsible, and may stir up racial tensions.”
This is in response to a viral video that made the rounds online recently, showing a man visibly upset at being stopped by officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) unit at Bishan MRT station. The unit typically conducts patrols and random checks at public transport areas.
In the clip, which was filmed on Mar 5 and posted on local Facebook groups on Tuesday, a man was seen raising his voice at TransCom officers after he was approached for checks.
Speaking in Malay, the man claimed he had seen officers targeting individuals from his race for checks, while leaving other races alone. He was also heard angrily questioning the officers if they had reasonable grounds to screen him, while the authorities responded to him calmly.
The video has since been reposted to online forums such as Reddit, where netizens shared their experiences of being screened by the authorities, with some alleging they were targeted because of their race.
However, the SPF stressed that action would be taken against those who put up such remarks. It also clarified that the “majority of persons checked by the same team on that same shift were non-Malays.”
“The police take a stern view of persons who post remarks online that could cause ill-will and hostility between the different races or communities in Singapore and they will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” it added.
The SPF noted that such screenings were pivotal to ensure the safety of Singapore’s public transport system. More than 720 arrests were made by TransCom officers in 2018 “as a result of spot checks conducted on Singapore’s transport network,” with the bulk of the arrests for major offences such as carrying dangerous weapons and drugs, and having an arrest warrant issued against them.
“The police would like to assure the public that our officers are impartial in their checks, and are trained to carry them out professionally,” the statement read.
“We hope that the public can understand and appreciate the need for such checks, which ensures the safety and security of commuters, and will cooperate with the officers as they carry out their responsibilities.”