Debate on whether race classification model is still relevant

Debate on whether race classification model is still relevant

SMU Behavioural Sciences Institute Director Professor David Chan was a panellist with Acting Minister Ng Chee Meng at the Singapore Perspectives conference where they discussed the notion of cohesive diversity. On the suggestion to do away with the classification of Singaporeans into Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others (CMIO) groups, Professor Chan warned that some aspects of a person's identity cannot be chosen, and that policies should be careful not to land such people in advantageous or disadvantageous situations. He noted that, just as there would not have been a Women's Charter if we had ignored male and female differences, he cautioned to think through what policies we would be erasing if we do not want to talk about CMIO. He also noted that CMIO does not impede national identity as surveys have shown one can have a strong sense of both racial and national identities.