Features of Constitution1
|Is there a constitution?||Yes|
|Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?||Yes|
|Source||World Intellectual Property Organization|
|Translation||Original was written in English|
|Current as of||May 11, 2011|
Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2
12. Equal Protection
(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.
(3) This article does not invalidate or prohibit—
(a) any provision regulating personal law; or
(b) any provision or practice restricting office or employment connected with the affairs of any religion, or of an institution managed by a group professing any religion, to persons professing that religion.
15. Freedom of Religion
(1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and to propagate it.
(2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
(3) Every religious group has the right—
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
(4) This article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.
16. Rights in Respect of Education
(1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 12, there shall be no discrimination against any citizens of Singapore on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth—
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees; or
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside Singapore).
(2) Every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children and provide therein instruction in its own religion, and there shall be no discrimination on the ground only of religion in any law relating to such institutions or in the administration of any such law.
(3) No person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.
(4) For the purposes of clause (3), the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.
21. Discharge and Performance of Functions of President
…(2) The President may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions:
… h) the exercise of his functions under section 12 of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A); and…
22. Appointment of Public Officers, etc.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the President, acting in his discretion, may refuse to make an appointment to any of the following offices or to revoke any such appointment if he does not concur with the advice or recommendation of the authority on whose advice or recommendation he is, by virtue of that other provision of this Constitution or any other written law, to act:
… d) the chairman and members of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony constituted under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A);…
22I. Restraining Order Under Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act
The President, acting in his discretion, may cancel, vary, confirm or refuse to confirm a restraining order made under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A) where the advice of the Cabinet is contrary to the recommendation of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony.
Part VII: The Presidential Council for Minority Rights
68. Interpretation of this Part
In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires—
…"differentiating measure" means any measure which is, or is likely in its practical application to be, disadvantageous to persons of any racial or religious community and not equally disadvantageous to persons of other such communities, either directly by prejudicing persons of that community or indirectly by giving advantage to persons of another community;
76. General Function of Council
(1) It shall be the general function of the Council to consider and report on such matters affecting persons of any racial or religious community in Singapore as may be referred to the Council by Parliament or the Government.
(2) A reference to the Council by Parliament may be made by the Speaker, and a reference to the Council by the Government may be made by a Minister.
77. Functions of Council in Respect of Bills and Subsidiary Legislation
It shall be the particular function of the Council to draw attention to any Bill or to any subsidiary legislation if that Bill or subsidiary legislation is, in the opinion of the Council, a differentiating measure.
78. Copies of Bills and Amendments Thereto to be Sent to Council
(1) Immediately after any Bill to which this article applies has been given a final reading and passed by Parliament and before it is presented to the President for assent, the Speaker shall cause an authenticated copy of the Bill to be sent to the Council.
(2) The Council shall consider the Bill and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the Bill was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure.
… (5) The Speaker shall cause every report received by him from the Council in pursuance of clause (2) to be presented to Parliament without undue delay. Where the Speaker receives no such report on the Bill within the time provided in clause (2), or any extension thereof granted under clause (4), it shall be conclusively presumed that the Council is of the opinion that no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure.
(6) No Bill to which this article applies shall be presented to the President for assent unless it is accompanied by a certificate under the hand of the Speaker stating that—
(a) in the opinion of the Council no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure;
(b) no report having been received from the Council within the time prescribed or any extension thereof, the Council is presumed to be of the opinion that no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure; or
(c) notwithstanding the opinion of the Council that some specified provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure, a motion for the presentation of the Bill to the President for assent has been passed by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of Parliament.
(7) This Article shall not apply to —
(a) a Money Bill;
(b) a Bill certified by the Prime Minister as being one which affects the defense or the security of Singapore or which relates to public safety, peace or good order in Singapore; or
(c) a Bill certified by the Prime Minister to be so urgent that it is not in the public interest to delay its enactment.
79. Functions of Council in Regard to Bills Enacted on a Certificate of Urgency
(1) Where the President assents to a Bill which has been certified as urgent by the Prime Minister under Article 78 (7), it shall nevertheless be the duty of the Speaker to cause an authenticated copy of the Act to be sent as soon as may be to the Council.
(2) The Council shall thereupon consider the Act and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the Act was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the Act is a differentiating measure.
(3) The Speaker shall cause any such report to be presented to Parliament as soon as possible.
80. Functions of Council in Regard to Subsidiary Legislation
(1) An authenticated copy of every piece of subsidiary legislation shall be sent to the Council by the appropriate Minister within 14 days of the publication of such subsidiary legislation.
(2) The Council shall thereupon consider such subsidiary legislation and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the subsidiary legislation was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker and to the appropriate Minister, stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the subsidiary legislation is a differentiating measure.
…(5) If no report on any subsidiary legislation is received from the Council within the time provided in clause (2), it shall be conclusively presumed that the Council is of the opinion that no provision in such subsidiary legislation is a differentiating measure.
81. Functions of Council in Regard to Certain Written Law
(1) The Council may examine any written law in force on 9th January 1970 and may make a report in regard to any provision in such written law which, in the opinion of the Council, is a differentiating measure.
147. Annual Estimates and Financial Statements
…(3) The estimates of revenue to be shown in the estimates shall not include any sums received by way of zakat, fitrah and baitulmal or similar Muslim revenue.
150. Proclamation of Emergency
…(5)(a) Subject to paragraph (b), no provision of any ordinance promulgated under this Article, and no provision of any Act which is passed while a Proclamation of Emergency is in force and which declares that the law appears to Parliament to be required by reason of the emergency, shall be invalid on the ground of inconsistency with any provision of this Constitution.
(b) Paragraph (a) shall not validate any provision inconsistent with—
(i) Article 5 (2A);
(ii) the provisions of this Constitution specified in Article 5 (2A) conferring discretionary powers on the President; and [ARDA Note: As of the date of the reprint of the constitution hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Article 150 (b) (i) and (ii) were not in operation.]
(iii) the provisions of this Constitution relating to religion, citizenship or language.
152. Minorities and Special Position of Malays
(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.
(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognize the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.
153. Muslim Religion
The Legislature shall by law make provision for regulating Muslim religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the President in matters relating to the Muslim religion.
1. Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
2. The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.