Singapore faces a surge in anti-Singapore sentiments on social media, with Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam attributing the rise to perceptions of the country as pro-West or pro-Israel following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel.
In a recent statement on Nov. 27, Minister Shanmugam revealed that comments expressing anti-Singapore sentiments have flooded social media platforms since the outbreak of conflict in the Middle East.
The minister outlined that critics often draw parallels between Singapore’s stance and that of Israel, branding Singapore as “Tanah Melayu” or Malay Lands, mirroring Israel’s position on Palestinian land.
The criticism has escalated to disturbing levels, with online calls urging for Singapore to be targeted using “rockets” and “bombs.’”
Minister Shanmugam highlighted that these sentiments are not isolated but have been echoed by global terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, along with their supporters, who exploit the ongoing conflict to renew their calls for attacks.
“The threat is there, and it has gotten higher,” warned Minister Shanmugam during a National Day Awards event, CNA reported.
Reflecting on the conflict that ignited on Oct. 7, Minister Shanmugam emphasized the surprise factor of Hamas’ attack on Israel. He noted that despite Israel being a high-tech society, the assault, characterized by high-level tactical planning and coordination, utilized relatively low-tech equipment and weapons.
“This serves as a lesson for us in terms of security. An attack like what happened to Israel could happen anywhere, including here, and there will be people who will be encouraged to do copycat attacks,” cautioned the minister.
The attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 saw the death of 1,200 people, and has seen retaliatory Israeli strikes which have killed more than 12,000 people in Gaza, the majority of them women and children.
A temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Nov. 24 marked a respite after 48 days of conflict, but both sides affirm the war is far from over.
While expressing solidarity with the civilians suffering in the conflict, Minister Shanmugam urged Singaporeans to be cautious and not let the Middle East situation undermine the peace and harmony the nation enjoys.
He acknowledged reports of increasing Islamophobia and anti-Semitism globally, emphasizing that Singapore’s religious diversity is a cornerstone of the nation’s identity and must be protected.