Singapore’s Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act: What you need to know about the proposed changes

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The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act is being amended for the first time since it was passed nearly 30 years ago.

SINGAPORE: The impact of social media and preventing foreign interference were among the challenges the Government is hoping to tackle with its proposed changes to Singapore’s religious harmony law.

These changes include expanding the Restriction Order regime, preventing foreign interference, streamlining laws dealing with religious harmony and introducing a new tool to help defuse tensions between religious groups when an offence has been committed.This is the first time that the law is being updated since it was passed nearly 30 years ago in 1990. It has also never been invoked, but has helped maintain peace and harmony here, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said recently.

The existing safeguard of the President needing to confirm the RO within 30 days of receiving the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony’s recommendation remains. - The president, secretary and treasurer have to be Singapore citizens or permanent residents. The majority of its governing body have to be Singapore citizens.

 

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