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4 March 2002
I have some comments about your articles on the tudung issue. In order to beat PAP, let it have a taste of its own medicine. I would like to draw readers’ attention to Article 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (which states that “every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and to propagate it” and that “every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs.”)
SDP: For readers’ information, two other articles in the Constitution are also relevant:
Article 12 Equality
(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.
Article 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.