Raeesah Khan: Tudung for nurses not enough, other uniformed groups should follow too

Aug 31, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

In a tweet published yesterday (Aug 30), Worker's Party MP Raeesah Khan commended the Government for allowing Muslims in the healthcare sector to don the tudung at work but feels that other uniformed groups should follow suit too.

According to Raeesah, "many other workplaces still discriminate against the traditional garb, such as other uniformed public service roles."

To push for further concessions, Raeesah believes that the society needs to be educated on the various forms of religious expressions and for Singaporeans to embrace differences.

In addition, Raeesah wants Singaporeans to "interrogate" their "preconceived notions and stereotypes against minority races, so that we do not judge each other superficially."

One netizen also tweeted - in response to Raeesah Khan - that the Ministry of Education should allow the "hijab/niqab (full face covering)" for school students as religious values should be cultivated from young.

Is it ever enough?

While many netizens supported the Government's move, there is also a larger segment of Singaporeans questioning if we are forgoing the neutrality of public service in favour of more religious wants and needs.

One netizen said, "Today nurses are allowed to wear the tudung, tomorrow, people will start asking for the tudung in primary schools for children. Next, we will have various ethnic and religious groups lobbying for more rights. Is it ever enough?"

Government’s secular stand on issue of wearing tudungs with public service uniforms has been ‘consistently clear’: Masagos

Explaining why the uniform policy in the public service cannot be tilted towards any religious belief, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said that in services that play a critical role in society, the uniform is a "visible sign that service is rendered equally regardless of race or religion".

"Allowing tudungs will raise a very visible religious marker that identifies every tudung-wearing female nurse or uniform officer as a Muslim. This has significant implications," he added.

"We don't want patients to prefer or not prefer to be served by a Muslim nurse, nor do we want people to think that public security is being enforced by a Muslim or non-Muslim officer.

"This is what makes the decision difficult and sensitive."

Any government concession to religious pressure could cause other groups to adopt a similar aggressive posture, and race and religion will become increasingly polarising, Masagos said.

“This will harm all of us, especially the minority community," he added.

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.