Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


New web portal launched to promote community engagement efforts

By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia
24 March 2007

SINGAPORE : Community engagement in Singapore is going into cyberspace, with the launch of a web portal called Singapore United.

It was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng at the National Seminar on the Community Engagement Programme (CEP) on Saturday.

Recent surveys have shown that Singaporeans respect each other's faiths, beliefs and practices.

But Mr Wong said this was not static or permanent.

Addressing religious leaders and representatives from the media, businesses, schools and grassroots organisations, Mr Wong reiterated the need to guard against terrorist threats.

One way was to keep everyone informed and connected.

Hence, the launch of Singapore United, a platform to share ideas and check out a host of community engagement activities.

Mr Wong said that the name Singapore United was inspired by comments and suggestions from members of the media.

The website may also serve as an avenue to disseminate information in times of crisis or to educate the young.

Abdul Mutalif Hashim, Chairman, Inter-Racial Confidence Circle, Choa Chua Kang RC, said, "The young, they like to surf. A lot of these websites, there's no limitation, there's a lot of negative element in these websites. So if you have this portal, we try to portray the positive side, balance their thinking."

Mr Wong noted that many people have volunteered to help since the CEP was launched a year ago.

Although he was heartened by what has been achieved, he stressed that maintaining good communal relations was always a work in progress.

Mr Wong said that on the whole, Singaporeans of all races and religions behaved responsibly and acted with restraint, ensuring that conflicts outside of Singapore do not trigger insensitive actions here.

While it is not possible to isolate the community from such conflicts, Mr Wong emphasised that there is a line that must not be crossed.

He added, "And the line is simple - our priority is to our own society and the safety and security of Singaporeans, regardless of their race and religion. We may offer aid or comfort to the victims of violence. We could do so openly and through responsible channels so that our efforts will not be subverted. We must not cross the line to support radical organisations preaching religious hatred of others or participate in terrorist acts of violence against others."

The priority, Mr Wong said, must be the safety and security of Singaporeans

But the people must recognise that the city-state could be hit by terrorists - and this was why they must be prepared to prevent reckless behaviour on the ground.

Sebastian Chua, Chairman, Inter-Racial Confidence Circle, Punggol South RC, said, "We could have more community-bonding activities. At the same time, we are planning to fulfil our role basically as an ambassador or counsellor in the event of any tension. Of course this inter-faith platform will also go a long way to diffuse any crisis."

At a closed door dialogue later, participants agreed that grassroots leaders needed to be more pro-active, and work with schools to reach out to the young. - CNA/ms

Labels: ,