Singaporeans More Receptive to Minority Premier, Survey Finds

By BLOOMBERG

As the search for Singapore’s next leader continues, more residents are saying that the race of the future prime minister is not a matter of concern for them.

About 70% of the respondents to a survey conducted by CNA and the Institute of Policy Studies were open to a Singaporean-Malay or Singaporean-Indian prime minister compared to 60.8% and 64.3%, respectively, six years ago. For the largely-ceremonial role of president, 82% of respondents were receptive to both races.

Race is a hot-button topic in the Southeast Asian nation with the Chinese majority being perceived by some as having more privileges. Singapore’s three prime ministers since independence in 1965 have been Chinese.

The topic has been fanned anew as the ruling party searches for the country’s next premier to take over from incumbent Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat bowed out of contention last year.

The preference for an ethnic Chinese leader remained apparent in the survey with close to 97% of the respondents in favor. The survey participants included 2,007 Singaporean residents.