Tarmugi appointed permanent member of minority rights panel

Ex-Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi at the swearing-in ceremony at the Istana before President Halimah Yacob. Beside him is Justice Steven Chong.
Ex-Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi at the swearing-in ceremony at the Istana before President Halimah Yacob. Beside him is Justice Steven Chong.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Former Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi was sworn in as a permanent member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights yesterday, in a ceremony officiated by President Halimah Yacob.

His appointment - which will be for life - took effect from Jan 10, said the council in a statement.

During the ceremony at the Istana, the 73-year-old was presented with his letter of appointment and took his oath before Justice Steven Chong.

Mr Abdullah was first appointed as a non-permanent council member on Jan 10, 2012, for a three-year term and reappointed for another three years on Jan 10, 2015.

The role of the council is to scrutinise laws passed by Parliament to ensure that no provision discriminates against any racial or religious community.

Current permanent members include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan and Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, former deputy prime ministers Goh Keng Swee and S. Rajaratnam, and former ministers Francis Thomas and Othman Wok were past permanent members.

Mr Abdullah was the Speaker of Parliament from 2002 to 2011. He was community development, youth and sports minister from 1996 to 2002.

With his appointment, the council will consist of 17 members, chaired by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. Besides him, there are five permanent members and 11 other members.

Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2018, with the headline 'Tarmugi appointed permanent member of minority rights panel'. Print Edition | Subscribe