Singapore Government
Link to Homepage
Home | About Us | Browse | Advanced Search | Results | My Preferences | FAQ | Help | PLUS
 
Contents  

Part I Preliminary

Part II The Republic and the Constitution

Part III Protection of the Sovereignty of the Republic of Singapore

Part IV Fundamental Liberties

Part V The Government

Chapter 1 — The President

Chapter 2 — The Executive

Chapter 3 — Capacity as regards property, contracts and suits

Part VA Council of Presidential Advisers

Part VI The Legislature

Part VII The Presidential Council for Minority Rights

Part VIII The Judiciary

Part IX The Public Service

Part X Citizenship

Part XI Financial Provisions

Part XII Special Powers against Subversion and Emergency Powers

Part XIII General Provisions

Part XIV Transitional Provisions

FIRST SCHEDULE Forms of Oaths

SECOND SCHEDULE Oath of Renunciation, Allegiance and Loyalty

THIRD SCHEDULE Citizenship

FOURTH SCHEDULE Appointment of Nominated Members of Parliament

FIFTH SCHEDULE Key Statutory Boards and Government Companies

Legislative Source Key

Legislative History

 
Slider
Left Corner
Print   Link to Viewed VersionLink to In-Force Version
 
On 21/11/2017, you requested the version in force on 06/11/2013 incorporating all amendments published on or before 06/11/2013. The closest version currently available is that of 01/07/2010.
Slider
Constitution of the Republic of Singapore

(Original Enactment: S 1/63)

[9th August 1965]
PART I
Preliminary
Citation
1.  This Constitution may be cited as the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.
Interpretation
2.
—(1)  In this Constitution, unless it is otherwise provided or the context otherwise requires —
“Cabinet” means the Cabinet constituted under this Constitution;
“Civil List” means the provision made under Article 22J for the maintenance of the President;
“citizen of Singapore” means any person who, under the provisions of this Constitution, has the status of a citizen of Singapore;
“commencement”, used with reference to this Constitution, means 9th August 1965;
“Consolidated Fund” means the Consolidated Fund established by this Constitution;
“Council of Presidential Advisers” means the Council of Presidential Advisers constituted under Part VA;
“existing law” means any law having effect as part of the law of Singapore immediately before the commencement of this Constitution;
“Government” means the Government of Singapore;
“Judge of the Supreme Court” includes the Chief Justice, a Judge of Appeal and a Judge of the High Court;
“law” includes written law and any legislation of the United Kingdom or other enactment or instrument whatsoever which is in operation in Singapore and the common law in so far as it is in operation in Singapore and any custom or usage having the force of law in Singapore;
“Legal Service Commission” means the Legal Service Commission constituted under this Constitution;
“Legislature” means the Legislature of Singapore;
“Minister” means a Minister appointed under this Constitution;
“office of profit” means, subject to clause (5), any whole time office in the public service;
“Parliament” means the Parliament of Singapore;
“President” means the President of Singapore elected under this Constitution and includes any person for the time being exercising the functions of the office of President;
“Presidential Elections Committee” means the Presidential Elections Committee constituted under Article 18;
“Prime Minister” means the Prime Minister of Singapore appointed under this Constitution;
“public office” means, subject to clause (5), an office of emolument in the public service;
“public officer” means the holder of any public office;
“public seal” means the public seal of Singapore;
“public service” means service under the Government;
“Public Service Commission” means the Public Service Commission constituted under this Constitution;
“register of electors” means any register of electors prepared under the provisions of any written law for the time being in force relating to Parliamentary elections;
“remuneration”, in respect of any public officer, means only the emoluments of that officer, the whole or any part of which count for pension in accordance with the provisions of any law relating to the grant of pensions in respect of the public service;
“reserves”, in relation to the Government, a statutory board or Government company, means the excess of assets over liabilities of the Government, statutory board or Government company, as the case may be;
“session” means the sittings of Parliament commencing when it first meets after being constituted, or after its prorogation or dissolution at any time, and terminating when Parliament is prorogued or is dissolved without having been prorogued;
“Singapore” means the Republic of Singapore;
“sitting” means a period during which Parliament is sitting continuously without adjournment, including any period during which Parliament is in committee;
“Speaker” and “Deputy Speaker” mean, respectively, the Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of Parliament;
“term of office”, in relation to the Government, means the period —
(a)
commencing on the date the Prime Minister and Ministers first take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance in accordance with Article 27 after a general election; and
(b)
ending after the next general election on the date immediately before the Prime Minister and Ministers first take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance in accordance with Article 27;
“terms of service”, in respect of any officer, includes the remuneration to which that officer is entitled by virtue of his office, and any pension, gratuity or other like allowance payable to or in respect of that officer;
“written law” means this Constitution and all Acts and Ordinances and subsidiary legislation for the time being in force in Singapore.
(2)  Except where this Constitution otherwise provides or where the context otherwise requires —
(a)
the person or authority having power to make substantive appointments to any public office may appoint a person to perform the functions of that office during any period when it is vacant or when the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of absence or infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) to perform those functions;
(b)
every appointment to perform the functions of an office made under paragraph (a) shall be made in the same manner as and subject to the same conditions as apply to a substantive appointment to that office;
(c)
any reference in this Constitution to the holder of any office by the term designating his office shall be construed as including a reference to any person for the time being lawfully performing the functions of that office; and
(d)
any reference in this Constitution to an appointment to any office shall be construed as including a reference to an appointment to perform the functions of that office.
(3)  Where in this Constitution power is conferred on any person or authority to appoint a person to perform the functions of any office if the holder thereof is unable himself to perform its functions, any such appointment shall not be called in question on the ground that the holder of that office was not unable to perform those functions.
(4)  For the purposes of this Constitution, the resignation of a member of any body or the holder of any office constituted by this Constitution that is required to be addressed to any person shall be deemed to have effect from the time that it is received by that person:
Provided that, in the case of a resignation that is required to be addressed to the Speaker, the resignation shall, if the office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is absent from Singapore, be deemed to have effect from the time that it is received by a Deputy Speaker on behalf of the Speaker.
(5)  For the purposes of this Constitution, a person shall not be considered as holding a public office or an office of profit by reason of the fact that he is in receipt of any remuneration or allowances (including a pension or other like allowance) in respect of his tenure of the office of President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Political Secretary, Member of Parliament, Ambassador, High Commissioner or such other office as the President may, from time to time, by order, prescribe*.
*  Offices of Consul-General and Consul have been prescribed by the President — See G.N. No. S 212/72
(6)  (a)  Without prejudice to clause (2) when the holder of any public office is on leave of absence pending relinquishment of that office, the person or authority having power to make appointments to that office may appoint another person thereto.
(b)  Where 2 or more persons are holding the same office by reason of an appointment made pursuant to paragraph (a), the person last appointed shall, in respect of any function conferred on the holder of that office, be deemed to be the sole holder of that office.
(7)  Where a person is required by this Constitution to take an oath, he shall be permitted, if he so desires, to comply with that requirement by making an affirmation.
(8)  References in this Constitution to any period shall, so far as the context admits, be construed as including references to a period beginning before the commencement of this Constitution.
(9)  Subject to this Article, the Interpretation Act (Cap. 1) shall apply for the purpose of interpreting this Constitution and otherwise in relation thereto as it applies for the purpose of interpreting and otherwise in relation to any written law within the meaning of that Act.
(10)  Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in this Constitution to a specified Part, Article or Schedule is a reference to that Part or Article of, or that Schedule to, this Constitution; any reference to a specified chapter, clause, section or paragraph is a reference to that chapter of the Part, that clause of the Article, that section of the Schedule, or that paragraph of the clause or section, in which the reference occurs; and any reference to a group of Articles, sections or divisions of Articles or sections shall be construed as including both the first and the last member of the group referred to.
PART II
The Republic and the Constitution
Republic of Singapore
*3.  Singapore shall be a sovereign republic to be known as the Republic of Singapore.
*  Section 2(1)(d), Constitution (Amendment) Act 1965 (No. 8 of 1965) and the Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (No. 9 of 1965).
Supremacy of Constitution
4.  This Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Singapore and any law enacted by the Legislature after the commencement of this Constitution which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
Amendment of Constitution
5.
—(1)  Subject to this Article and Article 8, the provisions of this Constitution may be amended by a law enacted by the Legislature.
(2)  A Bill seeking to amend any provision in this Constitution shall not be passed by Parliament unless it has been supported on Second and Third Readings by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total number of the elected Members of Parliament referred to in Article 39 (1) (a).
*(2A)  Unless the President, acting in his discretion, otherwise directs the Speaker in writing, a Bill seeking to amend —
(a)
this clause or Article 5A;
(b)
any provision in Part IV;
(c)
any provision in Chapter 1 of Part V or Article 93A;
(d)
Article 65 or 66; or
(e)
any other provision in this Constitution which authorises the President to act in his discretion,
shall not be passed by Parliament unless it has also been supported at a national referendum by not less than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast by the electors registered under the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218).
*  Article 5 (2A) was not in operation at the date of this Reprint. This Article repeals former Article 5 (2A) (enacted by Act 5/91) which Article was also not in operation at the date of its repeal by Act 41/96.
(3)  In this Article, “amendment” includes addition and repeal.
President may withhold assent to certain constitutional amendments
5A.
—(1)  Subject to Part III, the President may, acting in his discretion, in writing withhold his assent to any Bill seeking to amend this Constitution (other than a Bill referred to in Article 5(2A)), if the Bill or any provision therein provides, directly or indirectly, for the circumvention or curtailment of the discretionary powers conferred upon the President by this Constitution.
(2)  The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet, may pursuant to Article 100 (whether before or after his assent has been withheld to a Bill under clause (1)), refer to a tribunal for its opinion the question whether the Bill or any provision therein provides, directly or indirectly, for the circumvention or curtailment of the discretionary powers conferred upon the President by this Constitution; and where such a reference is made to the tribunal, Article 100 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to that reference.
(3)  Where a reference is made to the tribunal and the tribunal is of the opinion that neither the Bill nor any provision therein provides, directly or indirectly, for the circumvention or curtailment of the discretionary powers conferred upon the President by this Constitution, the President shall be deemed to have assented to the Bill on the day immediately after the day of the pronouncement of the opinion of the tribunal in open court.
(4)  Where the tribunal is of the opinion that the Bill or any provision therein provides, directly or indirectly, for the circumvention or curtailment of the discretionary powers conferred upon the President by this Constitution, and the President either has withheld or withholds his assent to the Bill under clause (1), the Prime Minister may at any time direct that the Bill be submitted to the electors for a national referendum.
(5)  If the Bill referred to in clause (4) is supported at the national referendum by not less than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast by electors registered under the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218), the President shall be deemed to have assented to the Bill on the day immediately after the publication in the Gazette of the results of the national referendum.
(6)  For the purposes of this Article, where, on the expiration of 30 days after a Bill has been presented to the President for his assent, the President has neither signified the withholding of his assent to the Bill nor referred the Bill to a tribunal pursuant to Article 100, the President shall be deemed to have assented to the Bill on the day immediately following the expiration of the said 30 days.
†  Article 5A was not in operation at the date of this Reprint.
PART III
Protection of the Sovereignty of the Republic of Singapore
No surrender of sovereignty or relinquishment of control over the Police Force or the Armed Forces except by referendum
6.
—(1)  There shall be —
(a)
no surrender or transfer, either wholly or in part, of the sovereignty of the Republic of Singapore as an independent nation, whether by way of merger or incorporation with any other sovereign state or with any Federation, Confederation, country or territory or in any other manner whatsoever; and
(b)
no relinquishment of control over the Singapore Police Force or the Singapore Armed Forces,
unless such surrender, transfer or relinquishment has been supported, at a national referendum, by not less than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast by the electors registered under the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218).
(2)  For the purposes of this Article —
“Singapore Armed Forces” means the Singapore Armed Forces raised and maintained under the Singapore Armed Forces Act (Cap. 295), and includes any civil defence force formed under the Civil Defence Act (Cap. 42) and such other force as the President may, by notification in the Gazette, declare to be an armed force for the purposes of this Article;
“Singapore Police Force” means the Singapore Police Force and the Special Constabulary established under the Police Force Act (Cap. 235) and any Auxiliary Police Force created in accordance with Part IX of that Act, and includes the Vigilante Corps established under the Vigilante Corps Act (Cap. 343) and such other force as the President may, by notification in the Gazette, declare to be a police force for the purposes of this Article.
Participation in co-operative international schemes which are beneficial to Singapore
7.  Without in any way derogating from the force and effect of Article 6, nothing in that Article shall be construed as precluding Singapore or any association, body or organisation therein from —
(a)
participating or co-operating in, or contributing towards, any scheme, venture, project, enterprise or undertaking of whatsoever nature, in conjunction or in concert with any other sovereign state or with any Federation, Confederation, country or countries or any association, body or organisation therein, where such scheme, venture, project, enterprise or undertaking confers, has the effect of conferring or is intended to confer, on Singapore or any association, body or organisation therein, any economic, financial, industrial, social, cultural, educational or other benefit of any kind or is, or appears to be, advantageous in any way to Singapore or any association, body or organisation therein; or
(b)
entering into any treaty, agreement, contract, pact or other arrangement with any other sovereign state or with any Federation, Confederation, country or countries or any association, body or organisation therein, where such treaty, agreement, contract, pact or arrangement provides for mutual or collective security or any other object or purpose whatsoever which is, or appears to be, beneficial or advantageous to Singapore in any way.
No amendment to this Part except by referendum
8.
—(1)  A Bill for making an amendment to this Part shall not be passed by Parliament unless it has been supported, at a national referendum, by not less than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast by the electors registered under the Parliamentary Elections Act (Cap. 218).
(2)  In this Article, “amendment” includes addition and repeal.
PART IV
Fundamental Liberties
Liberty of the person
9.
—(1)  No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.
(2)  Where a complaint is made to the High Court or any Judge thereof that a person is being unlawfully detained, the Court shall inquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order him to be produced before the Court and release him.
(3)  Where a person is arrested, he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
(4)  Where a person is arrested and not released, he shall, without unreasonable delay, and in any case within 48 hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey), be produced before a Magistrate, in person or by way of video-conferencing link (or other similar technology) in accordance with law, and shall not be further detained in custody without the Magistrate’s authority.
[9/2010 wef 01/07/2010]
(5)  Clauses (3) and (4) shall not apply to an enemy alien or to any person arrested for contempt of Parliament pursuant to a warrant issued under the hand of the Speaker.
(6)  Nothing in this Article shall invalidate any law —
(a)
in force before the commencement of this Constitution which authorises the arrest and detention of any person in the interests of public safety, peace and good order; or
(b)
relating to the misuse of drugs or intoxicating substances which authorises the arrest and detention of any person for the purpose of treatment and rehabilitation,
by reason of such law being inconsistent with clauses (3) and (4), and, in particular, nothing in this Article shall affect the validity or operation of any such law before 10th March 1978.
Slavery and forced labour prohibited
10.
—(1)  No person shall be held in slavery.
(2)  All forms of forced labour are prohibited, but Parliament may by law provide for compulsory service for national purposes.
(3)  Work incidental to the serving of a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of law shall not be taken to be forced labour within the meaning of this Article.
Protection against retrospective criminal laws and repeated trials
11.
—(1)  No person shall be punished for an act or omission which was not punishable by law when it was done or made, and no person shall suffer greater punishment for an offence than was prescribed by law at the time it was committed.
(2)  A person who has been convicted or acquitted of an offence shall not be tried again for the same offence except where the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a court superior to that by which he was convicted or acquitted.
Equal protection
12.
—(1)  All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2)  Except as expressly authorised 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.
Prohibition of banishment and freedom of movement
13.
—(1)  No citizen of Singapore shall be banished or excluded from Singapore.
(2)  Subject to any law relating to the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order, public health or the punishment of offenders, every citizen of Singapore has the right to move freely throughout Singapore and to reside in any part thereof.
Freedom of speech, assembly and association
14.
—(1)  Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —
(a)
every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b)
all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
(c)
all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
(2)  Parliament may by law impose —
(a)
on the rights conferred by clause (1)(a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;
(b)
on the right conferred by clause (1)(b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and
(c)
on the right conferred by clause (1)(c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3)  Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
Freedom of religion
15.
—(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.
Rights in respect of education
16.
—(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, 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.
PART V
The Government
Chapter 1 —
The President
The President
17.
—(1)  There shall be a President of Singapore who shall be the Head of State and shall exercise and perform such powers and functions as are conferred on the President by this Constitution and any other written law.
(2)  The President shall be elected by the citizens of Singapore in accordance with any law made by the Legislature.
(3)  Any poll for the election of President shall be held as follows:
(a)
in the case where the office of President becomes vacant prior to the expiration of the term of office of the incumbent and a writ for the election has not been issued before such vacation of office or, if so issued, has already been countermanded — within 6 months after the date the office of President becomes vacant; or
(b)
in any other case — not more than 3 months before the date of expiration of the term of office of the incumbent.
Presidential Elections Committee
18.
—(1)  There shall be a Presidential Elections Committee whose function is to ensure that candidates for the office of President have the qualifications referred to in paragraph (e) or (g)(iv) or both such paragraphs of Article 19(2), as the case may be.
(2)  The Presidential Elections Committee shall consist of —
(a)
the Chairman of the Public Service Commission;
(b)
the Chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority established under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Act 2004 (Act 3 of 2004); and
(c)
a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights nominated by the Chairman of the Council.
(3)  The Chairman of the Public Service Commission shall be the chairman of the Presidential Elections Committee and if he is absent from Singapore or for any other reason unable to discharge his functions, he shall nominate a Deputy Chairman of the Public Service Commission to act on his behalf.
(4)  The office of the member of the Presidential Elections Committee nominated under clause (2)(c) shall become vacant if the member —
(a)
dies;
(b)
resigns from office by a letter in writing addressed to the chairman of the Committee; or
(c)
has his nomination revoked by the Chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights,
and the vacancy shall be filled by a new member nominated by the Chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.
(5)  If the member of the Presidential Elections Committee referred to in clause (2)(b) or (c) is absent from Singapore or is for any other reason unable to discharge his functions, the Chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or the Chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights shall appoint a member of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority or a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, as the case may be, to act on his behalf.
[12/2004 wef 15/05/2004]
(6)  The Presidential Elections Committee may regulate its own procedure and fix the quorum for its meetings.
(7)  The Presidential Elections Committee may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership.
(8)  Parliament may by law provide for the remuneration of members of the Presidential Elections Committee and the remuneration so provided shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
(9)  A decision of the Presidential Elections Committee as to whether a candidate for election to the office of President has fulfilled the requirement of paragraph (e) or (g)(iv) of Article 19(2) shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal or review in any court.
Qualifications and disabilities of President
19.
—(1)  No person shall be elected as President unless he is qualified for election in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.