Your Constitutional Rights

“… freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it. A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man, …”
- John Locke, Second Treatise, Ch 4 para 21

The Constitution of SingaporeThe Constitution is a complex document. Though we have tried to simplify some of the explanation to make it understandable to the average reader, at times this would mean accuracy may be compromised. We also have not exhaustively covered the various topics, because that might result in a book rivalling the length of ‘War and Peace’. Here we just want to give you a general flavour of what the Constitution is about. For a better understanding of the Constitution, there are a number of books available for reading.

What is the constitution?

The Constitution of the Republic of Singapore is a document that sets out the manner in which political power is organised in Singapore. It provides for:-

  1. The structure and function of the various organs of the state, ie the executive, the legislature and the judiciary;
  2. Fundamental liberties, ie the rights and freedoms of every citizen; and
  3. The acquisition and deprivation of citizenship.

The Constitution is regarded as the supreme law of the land. Any lesser law or government action that contravenes the Constitution is ‘unconstitutional’ and thus illegal.A copy of the Constitution can be found here.

The Constitution is divided into 14 parts. Each part is further divided into Articles which are in turn divided into sub-Articles or paragraphs. Each part deals with different aspects in the administration of Singapore and her citizens.

  • The Consitution And You
  • Liberty of the person
  • Slavery and Forced Labour Prohibited
  • Protection against retrospective criminal laws
  • Equality
  • Prohibition of banishment & freedom of movement
  • Freedom of speech, assembly and association
  • Freedom of religion
  • Rights in respect to education