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US President Obama praises Singapore’s economic success, racial integration

www.channelnewsasia.com

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has lauded Singapore’s economic success and racial integration, saying the two are linked.

Speaking to a group of young leaders from Southeast Asia at the White House, he addressed a question on discrimination against the Rohingya. About 1.3 million of them live in Myanmar, but are mostly denied citizenship. Their plight has come under scrutiny as a migrant crisis unfurls in the region.

 Mr Obama said how countries deal with such issues will decide their prospects, citing Singapore as an example of a prosperous and well-integrated socity.

“There are more than 600 million people who live in ASEAN countries, and you reflect an incredible diversity of faiths and ethnic groups and background and culture. And that diversity has to be celebrated and it has to be protected,” he said.

“We have incredible economic engines like Singapore, and growing economies like the Philippines and Vietnam and Malaysia. Ultimately, this is going to be a great test for the democracy of the future – not just in Myanmar but in areas all throughout the country.

“And the truth of the matter is that one of the reasons that Singapore, as I mentioned earlier, has been successful, is that it has been able to bring together people who may look different, but they all think of themselves as part of Singapore. And that has to be a strength, not a weakness, but that requires leadership and government being true to those principles.”

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