There have been calls from some quarters – including the Workers’ Party – to abolish the CMIO classification. Some called for a relook of the model. They question if it is still relevant. Others claim that it makes us look at people through through the lens of race.
In an op-ed written for the Straits Times, Assoc Prof Eugene Tan said that while the CMIO classification matters to all community, in a significantly Chinese-majority Singapore, it matters more for the minorities.
“Getting rid of the scheme will raise disquiet among minority communities over the potential erasure of their distinct and distinctive identities, the end point of which is assimilation into the majority community,” Assoc Prof Tan said.
Being assimilated into the majority community is not how we have built this multiracial character of the Singapore society. As Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a recent Facebook post, our country was founded on the belief of forging unity from diversity.
“Instead it is about building a shared and forward-looking identity based on a common set of values, with the foundation steeped in our rich and diverse identities. And it is a legacy, that each and everyone of us must safeguard in our daily words and deeds, and through mutual respect and care for one another,” Mr Chan said.
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