In an obvious attempt to sidestep a politically sensitive question, Minister of Home Affairs K Shanmugam has refused to answer Nominated Member of Parliement Dennis Tan’s question in parliament. Tan had requested that the ministry provide a breakdown of the number of new citizenships granted each year between 2006 to 2015 based on their nationality prior to gaining Singapore citizenship.

Shanmugam, realizing that a proper breakdown might stir the people’s anger, had issued this curt written response in parliament today:

“From 2006 to 2015, an average of 18,795 persons was granted Singapore citizenship (SC) annually. Of this, the significant majority came from Asia, mainly from Southeast Asia.

In 2013, in answer to Ms Sylvia Lim in Parliament, DPM Teo Chee Hean had said:

“In some cases, we provide aggregated information or data instead of a more detailed breakdown because it may not be in our interest to do so. It may have implications on specific groups of persons or create sensitivities in the countries of origin for those who are working here or those who have migrated here… For similar reasons, we provide data on the number of immigrants by broad categories of the regions they have come from but have not provided the detailed breakdown of immigrants by specific countries of origin. I think Members understand that there may be some sensitivity with regard to this.”

That remains the position. Disclosing a detailed breakdown of the data may, among other issues, have implications/sensitivities for specific groups of persons, and create sensitivities in the countries of origin.

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