Singapore premier Lee Hsien Loong has deplored an alleged racist attack on a local woman of Indian descent after media outlets said she was kicked and abused for not wearing a protective face mask, in a case that is being probed by police.
In a Facebook post late on Monday, Lee said while people may be stressed and anxious due to the coronavirus pandemic “that does not justify racist attitudes and actions, much less physically abusing and assaulting someone because she belongs to a particular race, in this case Indian.”
The Singaporean woman, 55, was walking briskly on Friday when a man shouted racial slurs at her for not wearing her mask above her nose and kicked her in the chest, local media reported.
Protective face masks are compulsory in public in Singapore, but can be taken off when exercising, including brisk walking.
The alleged assault comes as the country toughens up social distancing rules and with authorities detecting a growing number of locally acquired COVID-19 variants, including a more contagious variant first detected in India.
Other politicians in Singapore also denounced the alleged attack.
“We felt indignant when Asians were attacked merely because of their race in other countries. Let us not allow such behavior to take root here,” said Grace Fu, minister for sustainability and the environment.