Section 68. Interpretation of this Part
In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires â€”
- "adverse report" means a report of the Council stating that, in the opinion of the Council, some specified provision of a Bill or of a subsidiary legislation would be a differentiating measure;
- "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Council;
- "Council" means the Presidential Council for Minority Rights established under Article 69;
- "differentiating measure" means any measure which is, or is likely in its practical application to be, disadvantageous to persons of any racial or religious community and not equally disadvantageous to persons of other such communities, either directly by prejudicing persons of that community or indirectly by giving advantage to persons of another community;
- "member" means a member of the Council and includes the Chairman;
- "Money Bill" means a Bill which contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters:
- the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation;
- the imposition, for the payment of debt or other financial purposes, of charges on the Consolidated Fund or any other public funds, or the variation or repeal of any such charges;
- the grant of money to the Government or to any authority or person, or the variation or revocation of any such grant;
- the appropriation, receipt, custody, investment, issue or audit of accounts of public money;
- the raising or guarantee of any loan or the repayment thereof, or the establishment, alteration, administration or abolition of any sinking fund provided in connection with any such loan;
- subordinate matters which are ancillary or incidental to any of the foregoing matters;
- "sitting day" means any date on which Parliament meets.
Section 69. Establishment of Presidential Council for Minority Rights
(1) There shall be a Presidential Council for Minority Rights which shall consist of â€”
- a Chairman appointed for a period of 3 years;
- not more than 10 permanent members appointed for life; and
- not more than 10 other members appointed for a period of 3 years.
(2) The Chairman and the members shall be appointed by the President if he, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Cabinet.
(3) The Chairman and the members appointed under clause (1) (c) shall be eligible for reappointment.
Section 70. Temporary appointment during incapacity of member
Whenever a member informs the Chairman that he is or will be incapable, for a period of 3 months or more, of taking part in the proceedings of the Council by reason of illness, absence or other cause, the Chairman shall convey the information to the President who may, if he, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Cabinet, appoint a person to serve as a member for that period.
Section 71. Qualifications of members
No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a member unless he â€”
(a) is a citizen of Singapore;
(b) is not less than 35 years of age;
(c) is resident in Singapore; and
(d) is not liable to any of the disqualifications provided in Article 72.
Section 72. Disqualifications of members
A person shall be disqualified for appointment as a member who â€”
(a) is or has been found or declared to be of unsound mind;
(b) is insolvent or an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) has been convicted of an offence by a court of law in Singapore or Malaysia and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than $2,000 and has not received a free pardon:
Provided that where the conviction is by a court of law in Malaysia, the person shall not be so disqualified unless the offence is also one which, had it been committed in Singapore, would have been punishable by a court of law in Singapore; or
(d) has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised the rights of citizenship in, a foreign country or has made a declaration of allegiance to a foreign country.
Section 73. Termination of membership
A member shall vacate his seat in the Council â€”
(a) if he ceases to be a citizen of Singapore;
(b) if by writing under his hand addressed to the Chairman he resigns his seat; or
(c) if he becomes subject to any of the disqualifications provided in Article 72.
Section 74. Determination of questions as to membership
(1) Any question whether any person has become a member or has vacated his seat as such member shall be referred to and determined by a tribunal consisting of a Judge of the Supreme Court appointed by the Chief Justice and 2 members appointed by the Council.
(2) Any tribunal constituted under clause (1) shall â€”
- sit in private;
- afford the person concerned adequate opportunity to call witnesses and be heard; and
- report its decision to the Chairman.
(3) The decision of the tribunal shall be final and shall not be open to question in any court.
Section 75. Oaths of Allegiance and Secrecy
Before any person who has been appointed Chairman or a member enters upon the duties of his office, he shall take and subscribe before a Judge of the Supreme Court the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Secrecy in the forms set out respectively in paragraphs 2 and 7 in the First Schedule.
Section 76. General function of Council
(1) It shall be the general function of the Council to consider and report on such matters affecting persons of any racial or religious community in Singapore as may be referred to the Council by Parliament or the Government.
(2) A reference to the Council by Parliament may be made by the Speaker, and a reference to the Council by the Government may be made by a Minister.
Section 77. Functions of Council in respect of Bills and subsidiary legislation
It shall be the particular function of the Council to draw attention to any Bill or to any subsidiary legislation if that Bill or subsidiary legislation is, in the opinion of the Council, a differentiating measure.
Section 78. Copies of Bills and amendments thereto to be sent to Council
(1) Immediately after any Bill to which this Article applies has been given a final reading and passed by Parliament and before it is presented to the President for assent, the Speaker shall cause an authenticated copy of the Bill to be sent to the Council.
(2) The Council shall consider the Bill and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the Bill was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure.
(3) Whenever after the receipt of an adverse report from the Council, the Bill to which it relates is amended by Parliament, the Speaker shall cause the Bill in its amended form to be sent again to the Council.
(4) On the application of the Chairman, the Speaker may extend, as he thinks fit, the period of 30 days prescribed by clause (2), where he considers it proper to do so on account of the length or complexity of any Bill or the number of matters for the time being under consideration by the Council or for any sufficient reason.
(5) The Speaker shall cause every report received by him from the Council in pursuance of clause (2) to be presented to Parliament without undue delay. Where the Speaker receives no such report on the Bill within the time provided in clause (2), or any extension thereof granted under clause (4), it shall be conclusively presumed that the Council is of the opinion that no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure.
(6) No Bill to which this Article applies shall be presented to the President for assent unless it is accompanied by a certificate under the hand of the Speaker stating that â€”
- in the opinion of the Council no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure;
- no report having been received from the Council within the time prescribed or any extension thereof, the Council is presumed to be of the opinion that no provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure; or
- notwithstanding the opinion of the Council that some specified provision of the Bill would, if enacted, be a differentiating measure, a motion for the presentation of the Bill to the President for assent has been passed by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of Parliament.
(7) This Article shall not apply to â€”
- a Money Bill;
- a Bill certified by the Prime Minister as being one which affects the defence or the security of Singapore or which relates to public safety, peace or good order in Singapore; or
- a Bill certified by the Prime Minister to be so urgent that it is not in the public interest to delay its enactment.
(8) A Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if the Speaker certifies in writing that, in his opinion, it is a Bill to which the definition of â€œMoney Billâ€ contained in Article 68 applies. No Money Bill shall be presented to the President for assent, unless it is accompanied by the Speaker"s certificate which shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be open to question in any court.
Section 79. Functions of Council in regard to Bills enacted on a certificate of urgency
(1) Where the President assents to a Bill which has been certified as urgent by the Prime Minister under Article 78 (7), it shall nevertheless be the duty of the Speaker to cause an authenticated copy of the Act to be sent as soon as may be to the Council.
(2) The Council shall thereupon consider the Act and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the Act was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the Act is a differentiating measure.
(3) The Speaker shall cause any such report to be presented to Parliament as soon as possible.
Section 80. Functions of Council in regard to subsidiary legislation
(1) An authenticated copy of every piece of subsidiary legislation shall be sent to the Council by the appropriate Minister within 14 days of the publication of such subsidiary legislation.
(2) The Council shall thereupon consider such subsidiary legislation and shall, within 30 days of the date on which the subsidiary legislation was sent to the Council, make a report to the Speaker and to the appropriate Minister, stating whether or not in the opinion of the Council any and, if so, which provision of the subsidiary legislation is a differentiating measure.
(3) The Speaker shall cause every report of the Council on every piece of subsidiary legislation to be presented to Parliament on the next sitting day after receiving the Council"s report.
(4) Where an adverse report in respect of any provision of any subsidiary legislation is presented to Parliament in pursuance of clause (3), then, within 6 months after the presentation of that report, unless either â€”
- the provision has been revoked or amended by the appropriate Minister; or
- Parliament has passed a resolution confirming that provision, the appropriate Minister shall revoke such provision and cause a notice of revocation to be published in the Gazette.
(5) If no report on any subsidiary legislation is received from the Council within the time provided in clause (2), it shall be conclusively presumed that the Council is of the opinion that no provision in such subsidiary legislation is a differentiating measure.
Section 81. Functions of Council in regard to certain written law
(1) The Council may examine any written law in force on 9th January 1970 and may make a report in regard to any provision in such written law which, in the opinion of the Council, is a differentiating measure.
(2) The Council shall send such report to the Speaker and the Speaker shall cause such report to be presented to Parliament as soon as possible.
(3) In the case of a report on any subsidiary legislation, the Council shall also cause a copy of the report to be sent to the appropriate Minister.
Section 82. Duties of Chairman
(1) The Council shall meet on the summons of the Chairman.
(2) The Chairman, if present, shall preside at all meetings of the Council.
(3) Whenever the office of Chairman is vacant or the Chairman for any reason is unable to attend, some other member shall be elected by the Council to act as Chairman.
Section 83. Quorum and voting
(1) The Council shall not transact any business unless a quorum of 8 members, including the Chairman or member presiding, is present.
(2) Any decision of the Council shall be made by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.
(3) The Chairman or member presiding shall have an original vote but not a casting vote.
(4) If upon any question before the Council the votes of the members are equally divided, the motion shall be deemed to be lost.
Section 84. Proceedings of Council to be in private
The proceedings of the Council shall be conducted in private and the Council shall not be entitled to hear objectors or examine witnesses in regard to any Bill or law which is being considered by the Council in pursuance of the provisions of this Part.
Section 85. Councilâ€™s report
In reporting the opinion of the Council under the provisions of this Part, the Council shall state â€”
(a) either that the report is unanimous or the number of votes for and against it; and
(b) in the case of an adverse report, the grounds on which the Council has reached its conclusion.
Section 86. Validity of proceedings notwithstanding vacancy in membership
Subject to Article 83 (1), the Council shall not be disqualified for the transaction of business by reason of any vacancy among the members thereof; and any proceedings therein shall be valid notwithstanding that some person who was not entitled to do so took part in those proceedings.
Section 87. Attendance of Minister, etc.
Any Minister, Minister of State or Parliamentary Secretary specially authorised by the Prime Minister for this purpose shall be entitled to attend and take part in the proceedings of the Council as if he were a member but shall not have the right to vote in the Council.
Section 88. Power of Council to make rules regulating procedure
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Council may make rules with respect to the regulation and conduct of its proceedings and the despatch of its business but no such rules shall have effect until they have been approved by the President.
Section 89. Annual report
(1) Once in every year it shall be the duty of the Council to compile and present to the President a report on the work of the Council during the preceding 12 months.
(2) The President shall cause such report to be presented to Parliament as soon as possible.
Section 90. Salaries and fees
(1) There shall be paid to the Chairman and the other members such salaries and fees as may be determined by the President.
(2) The salaries and fees payable under clause (1) shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.
Section 91. Appointment of staff
The Council shall have power to appoint a Secretary to the Council and such other officers as may be required to enable the Council to carry out its functions under this Part.
Section 92. Power to make rules generally
The President may make rules for the conduct of business between the Council and Parliament and between the Council and any authority empowered to make subsidiary legislation, and generally for carrying out the purposes of this Part.