I should not have said ‘walking time-bombs’: Denise Phua


Jalan Besar GRC MP Denise Phua. Yahoo Singapore file photo

Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency Denise Phua said she did not mean to undermine any specific group when she described high-density congregations of foreigners as "walking time-bombs".

In a Facebook post, Phua thanked foreign workers for their contributions and apologised if she had “caused (them) concern”. She added that she “personally get(s) along very well with the foreign cleaners in my constituency".

On Wednesday (6 Apr), during a Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Home Affairs in Parliament, Phua noted that the crowds in Little India had returned to “pre-riot” levels. On 8 December 2013, some 400 foreign workers of mainly South Asian origin rioted over the accidental death of a fellow worker. It was the first riot in Singapore in more than four decades.

She said, “Madam, congregations of such high density are walking time-bombs and public disorder incidents waiting to happen. It is important that we do not take our eyes off this matter lest we want history to repeat itself.“

Phua also called for communal areas such as playgrounds and void decks to be ring-fenced "so that the old and the young get to use the space meant for them”.

Phua’s comments have caused a stir on social media, with some commenters comparing her to US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump has advocated building a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants from the United States.

COMMENT: Fencing workers off will only cause more distrust, animosity