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Job, living conditions not behind Singapore riots, says probe

Singapore, July 9 (IANS): The inquiry committee appointed to investigate last year's riots here said dissatisfaction with employment and living conditions among foreign workers was not one of the underlying causes of the riots.

The riots in Little India erupted when a private bus knocked down and killed an Indian construction worker.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in parliament that the ministry's study showed that more than 90 percent of the close to 930 foreign workers surveyed so far were satisfied working in Singapore, Today Online reported Wednesday.

The survey also found that more than 80 percent of respondents would recommend Singapore to their friends and relatives as a place for work, while more than 70 percent of workers renewed their contracts after the first two years.

Noting that the more speculative causes of the riot had been echoed blindly by some sections of the foreign media, Tan added: "These same critics often propagated this, maintaining a negative picture of our agencies, of Singaporeans and of Singapore at large to not only our internal local audience, but the international audience as well."

About 400 people attacked the bus as well as police and rescue vehicles. The violence lasted almost two hours before riot police brought the situation under control.

A total of 25 emergency vehicles were damaged along with five that were set on fire while 39 police officers and four civil defence and auxiliary officers were injured.

In all, 25 Indians working in Singapore were charged with the Dec 8 rioting last year.