A leading Singaporean state-owned investment company has called out posts on social media targeting its Indian employees as a "divisive, racist campaign" aimed at stirring up hatred and intolerance.
In a statement posted online on Friday, Temasek Holdings said it has its roots in Singapore, where there is no place for xenophobia, racism or hate speech.
The company noted that the very birth of Singapore as an independent nation was founded in the ideals of meritocracy, regardless of race, language or religion.
"Some of our colleagues from India have been targeted recently on social media by a divisive, racist campaign. This makes us very angry at the false claims perpetuated. The Singaporeans among us are also ashamed at such hateful behaviour on the Singapore social media. We stand by our colleagues who have been dragged into this through no fault of their own," the global investor said.
Some posts circulating on Facebook in recent days have highlighted the LinkedIn profiles of certain Temasek employees, and their academic qualifications, and questioned why top positions in the firm were filled by foreigners and not locals, The Straits Times reported.
Temasek in its statement said it has referred the posts to Facebook which are in clear breach of the social media platform's community guidelines on hate speech.
The firm, which leads Singaporean investment in India, said it will "continue to press them to be more active in stamping out such hate speech, wherever it occurs on their platforms".
Temasek said its hiring practices are based on values such as meritocracy, excellence and integrity. The company, it said, adopts an open policy in building its team that looks at values, passions, capability and willingness to learn, "regardless of the colour of our skin, or the colour of our passports".
"As an active global investor, and a forward looking institution, it will be foolish of us not to tap on the global pool of talent," it said.
The company also underscored the diversity of its employees, which spans 32 nationalities across offices in eight countries. "Among our 600 strong staff at our headquarters in Singapore, 90 per cent are Singapore citizens or permanent residents (PR). This is broadly the same among our senior leadership (managing directors and above)," it said.
Other than Singaporeans, the composition of its staff is from China (9%), the United States (7%), India (6%), United Kingdom (3%) and Malaysia (3%).
"We believe there is a role for constructive debate and fact-based opinions in our society, even on contentious or sensitive topics, and even on social media. That should be balanced with civility and respect for others. There is no place whatsoever for racism to feature in these debates. Insidious posts designed to stir hatred and intolerance have no place in our society, and we denounce them," it said.
The social media posts come in the wake of the Ministry of Manpower last week placing 47 employers on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist for potentially discriminatory hiring practices. Among the 47 companies, 30 were in the financial services and professional services sectors.
Companies on the watch list will have their Employment Pass applications closely scrutinised, and those who are recalcitrant or uncooperative will have their work pass privileges cut back.
On Wednesday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) urged financial institutions to groom local leaders and grow their Singaporean talent pool.
The MAS said financial institutions should continue to identify Singaporeans with high potential for leadership roles and expand the supply of talented locals.