Parliament: No legislation deemed disadvantageous to any race or religious group in past two terms of Parliament

The Presidential Council of Minority Rights (PCMR) has not flagged any legislation passed over the past two terms of Parliament, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.
The Presidential Council of Minority Rights (PCMR) has not flagged any legislation passed over the past two terms of Parliament, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) has not flagged any legislation passed over the past two terms of Parliament, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (March 8).

The Council's role is to draw attention to legislation which could disadvantage people of any racial or religious community.

"The fact that there has not been any adverse reports bears testament to the robustness of the system of checks that we have," Mr Chan said in response to Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, who asked how many times the Council suggested changes to or did not agree to a Bill passed in Parliament over the past two terms.

Mr Chan also clarified that the 16-member Council's role is to flag legislation that it considers problematic, and not suggest changes to or block the proposed laws.

A Bill goes through three layers of checks before it is presented to the Council, he noted.

The Attorney-General's Chambers provides legal advice, and the Ministry of Law ensures the proposed law is consistent with the Constitution and other legal policies. This includes looking at whether the Bill might directly or indirectly disadvantage people of a particular race or religion.

Finally, the Bill is tabled in Parliament, before it reaches the Council, which is currently chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

The Council can also call on other resources or references if it wants to, said Mr Chan.

He added that the Council's opinion is publicly available on the Parliament website, or on the National Archives website.