The little India riot and Singapore’s stand on it

Recently, a traffic accident in Little India (part of) Singapore boiled up to become a riot in the entire nation. This was one of Singapore’s first riots in four decade which highlighted the reliance of the city on foreign workers.
The violence began after a local bus mercilessly ran over a 33-year old Indian national worker, Sakthivel Kuaravelo who died on the spot. The traffic accident sparked off a riot, which engaged over 400 people. In order to control the situation, the police officials arrested 24 Indian nationals and 2 Bangladeshis and a Singaporean resident who were believed to be actively involved in the situation. Also, 52 Indians have been deported from Singapore while 200 others have been issued warnings. Furthermore, out of the 300 police officers who came to control the situation, 22 officers and 5 auxiliary officers were critically injured by the mob.

Moved by the uncontrollable series of actions, Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong issued a statement which emphasized that there was no excuse for such violent and criminal behaviour. He also ordered a Committee of Inquiry too look into the possible reasons for the riot and investigate how the foreign worker congregate areas were being managed by the government. 
It is not for the first time that Singapore nationals have expressed discontent over foreign workers, who are believed to be contributing to infrastructure strains and congestions, and wide income inequality in the nation. As a result, a four- year government campaign was also launched to discourage overseas workers from migrating into Singapore.

Driver Arrested:
The 55- year old Singaporean who was driving the bus has been arrested for causing the death of a pedestrian due to negligent driving. Also, the 16 vehicles damaged during the riots were removed in order to ensure smooth movement of traffic. A need has also been expressed to limit the liquor licenses within the Little India area.

Foreign Workers:
 Foreign workers make up about 20% of population of nearly 5.3 million. The riot has also brought into limelight the miserable living conditions of foreign workers in Singapore. Large-scale demonstrations, similar to those witnessed during 1964 race riots were seen.
The Statistics Department reports that the city’s income inequality has widened since last year, which might lead to an inflation of 2.5% to 3% in the coming year, making Singapore the third most expensive city for living in Asia.

Bus Strike:
Apart from levying a ban on sale and consumption of alcohol in the affected areas of Little India, the government has also decided to suspend the shuttle bus service that used to carry the workers from their dormitories, which are located far from the main island.

52 Indians have been deported from Singapore for being involved in December 8 riots and they have been prohibited from ever entering Singapore. Also, the acting Manpower minister Tan Chuan Jin has assured that there were about 3,700  pending employment related disputes recorded last year, which would be settled within a period of thirty days.
The riots are a wakeup call to the Singapore authorities, highlighting the fact that quick measures need to be taken to improve the condition of migrant workers, and not just deport them.

 Aviation Industry in Singapore

Singapore one of the five founding members of ASEAN is one of the world’s leading commercial hubs.  It is home to the sixth busiest airport and fourth biggest air cargo hub in Asia.  Apart from being a big financial hub, Singapore is also a major tourist destination for globe trotters.  17 million tourists are expected to visit Singapore and tourism revenues are expected to touch 30 billion SG$ by 2015.

Aviation in Singapore started with the Malayan Airlines Limited (MAL) when a plane took off from the Kallang Airport way back in 1947 since then there was no looking back.  Air traffic increased drastically over a period of time with better planes, better comfort, speed  and in-flight recreation.  Aviation helped the economy of Singapore grow to a large extent, it also provided excellent employment opportunities to large number of people in Singapore. 

Three different business verticals viz., Passenger traffic, Cargo and Aircraft maintenance thrive due to Singapore’s strategic location.  Of the 14 million international visitors (all travel modes put together), more than 11 million international visitors have traveled to Singapore by air during the period January to December 2012. Approximately 3000 flights land into Singapore airports every week with more than half a million seats on offer to tourists.

Most of the leading air carriers in the region have daily flights to Singapore and the long  haul carriers do a stop over here.  Singapore has 8 airports, Changi International Airport is the largest commercial airport in Singapore. It has three airport terminals with a capacity to handle 66 million passengers annually.  Changi International Airport handled 51.2 million passengers in the year 2012,  its 4th terminal should be ready by 2017. 

Singapore Airlines after the split from MSA has been in operations since 1972 and today is a very respected brand in the whole world.  It is the largest airline in the world by market capitalization and flies one of the youngest fleets of aircraft.  It is well known for providing superb state of the art entertainment and passenger comfort systems.

Aerospace Maintenance  in Singapore : Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is a huge business in Singapore.  Singapore serves as a link between continents for trans-continental flights and hence major air carriers have stop over here.  The Changi International Airport being a major hub for air traffic in Southeast Asia prompted many MRO companies to setup shop in the island nation. The wide bodied passenger jets gets serviced here. To cater to servicing of Corporate Aircraft’s, aerospace majors like Jet Aviation and Hawker Pacific has set up service centers at the Seletar Airport which is a relatively smaller airport.  Many more companies have planned to set up MRO units in Singapore in the near future.

Low Cost Carriers : Singapore is an important destination for travelers across the globe and LCC’s has played a vital role in ferrying huge number of passengers to Singapore.  Low cost carriers bring in most of the tourist volume, carriers like Singapore based Tiger Airways, Malaysia based AirAsia and Australia based Jetstar Asia Airways have major presence in Singapore.  Singapore is a small country with limited air space, with these  limitations low cost carriers have to be contended with the few negotiated air rights and operate fewer schedules in the region.

Singapore Visa Formalities

All foreign nationals having passports and other relevant travel documents would need a visa to set foot in Singapore. However, certain categories of visitors, holders of diplomatic/official passports, and nationals of specified countries (as stipulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore) do not require a visa for gaining entry into Singapore.
All types of visas issued by the consular offices and overseas missions of Singapore including social visit passes, student passes, and professional visit passes are classified under the two broad categories of tourist and business visas. The application form is available free of charge at any Singapore overseas mission. One can also download an e-visa form from the MFA’s website. Nationals holding passports/pertinent travel papers of the following countries will need a visa for entering Singapore:-

Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, India, Georgia, Nigeria, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macau Special Administrative Region, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Myanmar Yemen, and Palestine (this is not a comprehensive listing)

Visitors from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) will not require a visa for entering Singapore in case they’re proceeding to a third country. Nevertheless, they’ll need to satisfy the following stipulations:-
They’ll be continuing with their onward journey within the specified 4 day visa-exempt period
They are in possession of a valid passport
They fulfil the immigration clearance perquisites laid down the officers of ICA (Immigration & Checkpoints Authority)
They’ve have a valid air-ticket for onward journey
Their passports are stamped with the visa of the country they’re transiting to
They’ve enough funds to for staying in Singapore

Documentation Requirements for Immigration Clearance
As a visitor, you’ll need to pass through immigration clearance at the Changi International Airport’s ICA area. ICA officials will let you proceed to the city if you have:-
A passport that is valid at least for the subsequent 6 months
A legal Singapore visa (as applicable)
Sufficient funds for financing your stay in the island-state
Confirmed return/onward journey ticket (as applicable)
Legitimate visa of the country you’re journeying to (with a stopover in Singapore)
Vaccination Certificate for Yellow Fever (wherever applicable)
Filled up disembarkation/embarkation card
The visa imprint stamped on your passport will clearly indicate the number of days you’re allowed to stay in Singapore. You’ll be committing an offence if you overshoot your granted stay-period. You’ll have to apply for a visa extension in case you want to prolong or extend your stay in the city-state.   

Visa Fees and Validity Period
You’ll have to pay S$ 30 as visa fees for every issue. You’ll have to pay S$ 40 if you want to extend your stay for at least 3 months. A visa issued for the first time (social visit pass) has a maximum validity period of 3 months. ‘Employment pass’ aspirants upon getting a first-time visa will be able to stay for at least two years.
On applying for a visa renewal, an employment pass holder will be permitted to stay for the subsequent three years. A traveller with a ‘performing artiste work permit’ will be allowed to work for a maximum period of 6 months. A performing artiste who intends to work for a longer period will have to apply for a ‘student pass’ or ‘employment pass’.
Other Relevant Information
A student who has gained admission into a professional education institution in Singapore will require a ‘student pass’ to stay in the city-state for completing his studies. However, professional visit passes are not needed for foreigners visiting Singapore on temporary assignments (effective from 1st January 1999) excepting for:-
Foreigners entering the country to participate in religious, communal, ethnic, political, and commercial seminars, conferences and workshops
Foreigners visiting Singapore to deliver religious sermons and lectures
Foreign journalists, reporters and correspondents proceeding to Singapore for covering an event or interviewing a personality
 Foreigners visiting to perform in a nightclub or discotheque
Cultural troupes and ensembles, foreign models, actors, actresses, film directors, camera crew members, lecturers, acclaimed speakers, professional artistes, foreign sportspersons, foreign cultural missions, and foreign exhibitors do not need a PVP to land in Singapore.