Singapore union director fired for Facebook faux pas

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The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has sacked an assistant director in its membership department, right after news broke of her racist comments on her Facebook page.

"The NTUC takes a serious view on racial harmony in Singapore. We will not accept and have zero tolerance towards any words used or actions taken by our staff that are racially offensive," said Lim Swee Say, Secretary-General of NTUC in a statement.

"NTUC has terminated with immediate effect the services of Ms Amy Cheong, Assistant Director, Membership Department after establishing with her that she did post offensive comments on her personal Facebook page on Oct 7.

"Regrettably and rightly so, her comments have upset members of the public, including many union members. We are sorry that this has happened. We have counselled the staff and impressed upon her the seriousness of her action. She is remorseful and has apologised for her grave lapse of judgement."

The NTUC concluded by reiterating that inclusiveness remains at the heart of the labour movement.

Cheong had posted vitriolic comments criticising the noise levels of a Malay wedding held at a void-deck. In addition, she made crude references to high divorce rates among the Malay race due to their “cheap” weddings.

Her profuse apologies on Facebook (which has since been taken down) after the furore erupted was not enough to save her job.

"It was my own bad judgment which I truly regret," she wrote. "I was just upset with the noise. I truly do not mean to be judgmental or critical. I am truly sorry."

Racial and religious tolerance is a key tenet of Singapore’s diverse society, and any critical comments on race and religion can result in legal persecution.

A grassroots leader from the Hougang constituency has also made a police report against Cheong. The secretary of the division’s inter-racial confidence circle, Lionel de Souza, has posted his police report on his Facebook page.



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