NTUC sacks assistant director over racist remarks on Facebook

SINGAPORE - NTUC has fired an assistant director who posted a racist comment on her Facebook page.

In a statement on Monday, the NTUC said: "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."

The assistant director of NTUC's Membership Partnership & Alliance, Amy Cheong, had allegedly posted a disparaging comment on Facebook.

Earlier on its Facebook page, NTUC Membership said: "Dear fans of NTUC Membership, we have been alerted of an inappropriate comment, allegedly made by one of our staff recently. This matter is being investigated and we will have a report in due course. This is a serious concern to all of us and will be addressed shortly. The Labour Movement centers on inclusivity and we will not accept words or action of any of our staff that is insensitive or offending to any community."

NTUC, or the National Trades Union Congress, is Singapore's labour movement, whose vision is for 'better and more meaningful life where working people of all collars, all ages, and all nationalities can live, work and play together in Singapore'.

Her comment generated a flurry of responses and comments online, including a Facebook page called FIRE Amy Cheong, which has 2,030 likes when last checked.

In a comment in the AsiaOne forums, a reader known as oldrupert said: "Such comments are uncalled for, rude and totally unacceptable in a multi racial society like ours."

Ms Cheong later posted another comment on Facebook, saying: "It is in no way a reflection of NTUC and the good works it has done and is doing for its members. It was my own bad judgement for which I truly regret. I certainly do not mean to distress the Malay community with my comment, I was just upset with the noise. I truly do not mean to be judgmental or critical. I am truly sorry.

She also later replied to various people on microblogging site Twitter with an apology, saying: "Hi All, It was a silly comment. It was not meant to be 'racist' comment and I do apologize for any distress it has caused."

"The postings on this site are my own and do not represent any organisation I am associated with," she said.

She also said: "After this episode, i have realized how one generic post can create so many hurtful and cruel posts from strangers."

A police report has been lodged against Ms Cheong for her remarks.

The report was made by Lionel de Souza, 69, who is the People Action Party's assistant branch secretary in the single-member constituency (SMC) Hougang.

NTUC is currently looking for a new Assistant Director (Service Quality), Membership, according to a posting on online job portal Jobstreet.com.


ellenja@sph.com.sg

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