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Article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore

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By: M Ravi

The selection and appointment of Prime Minister based on race (reserved only for Chinese) potentially violate article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Article 12 of the Constitution guarantees all persons equality before the law and equal protection of the law. The Article also identifies four forbidden classifications – religion, race, descent and place of birth – upon which Singapore citizens may not be discriminated for specific reasons. For example, discrimination on those classifications is prohibited in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

Further , Article 12 reflects our aspirations contained in the national pledge and the national anthem.

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It is our leaders’ duty to defend the constitution. The post of the Prime Minister is one of the highest appointment in the public office . What example are we setting in violating the basic tenet of the constitution on the fundamental right to equality and treating it with such impunity?

I disagree with the proposal to amend the constitution to ensure that ethnic minorities are elected as president from time to time. However, positive discrimination in the form of affirmative action in the context of the constitutional amendment to Elected Pesidency system to ensure minority representation may be permissible under Article 12. On the other hand, negative discrimination emanating from the selection of the Prime Minister being only reserved for Chinese will be impermissible and clearly forbidden under Article 12.

I respectfully urge the government to immediately restore the crown to the constitution by reconsidering its decision.

Majulah Singapura.

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