Singapore
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Muslim

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (13.4%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 yes
Does the constitution state an official religion?3 not stated
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 yes [Article 15(1)]
Does the constitution protect religious equality/non-discrimination?3 yes [Article 12(2)]

Constitution

Constitution Year3 1963
Last Amended3 2016
Source3 Constitute Project
Translation3 Original was written in English.
Current as of3 November 6, 2018

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)3

Article 12. Equal protection.

...

(2) Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion ... 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.

Article 15. Freedom of religion.

(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise 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 authorise any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Article 16. Rights in respect of education.

(1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 12, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen of Singapore on the grounds only of religion ... ---

[in admissions, tuition, or appropriations]

(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.

Article 19B. Reserved election for community that has not held office of President for 5 or more consecutive terms.

...

(5) No provision of any law made pursuant to this Article is invalid on the ground of inconsistency with Article 12 or is considered to be a differentiating measure under Article 78.

...

Article 21A. General time limit for President to exercise discretionary powers.

...

(2) Subject to any reduction or extension under clause (3), the specified period for the purposes of clause (1) is---

(a) 30 days for the following matters:

...

(iv) whether to confirm under Article 22I a restraining order made under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A);

...

...

...

Article 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);

...

Article 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.

Article 39A. Group representation constituencies.

...

(3) No provision of any law made pursuant to this Article shall be invalid on the ground of inconsistency with Article 12 or be considered to be a differentiating measure under Article 78.

...

Article 68. Interpretation of this Part [on the Presidential Council for Minority Rights]

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires---

• "adverse report" means a report of the Council stating that, in the opinion of the Council, some specified provision of a Bill or of a subsidiary legislation would be a differentiating measure;

...

• "differentiating measure" means any measure which is, or is likely in its practical application to be, disadvantageous to persons of any ... 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;

...

Article 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 ... 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.

Article 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.

Article 78. Copies of bills and amendments thereto to be sent to 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 not less than two-thirds of the total number of Members of Parliament (excluding nominated Members).

...

Article 79. Functions of Council in regard to bills enacted on a certificate of urgency.

...

(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.

Article 80. Functions of Council in regard to 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.

Article 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.

...

Article 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.

...

Article 150. Proclamation of Emergency.

...

(5) ...

(b) Paragraph (a) [validating emergency laws that otherwise would be unconstitutional] shall not validate any provision inconsistent with---

...

(iii) the provisions of this Constitution relating to religion ...

...

Article 152. Minorities and special position of Malays.

(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the ... 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 ... religious ... interests ...

Article 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.


Sources

1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

3.  Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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