SAB’s Response to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act
The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) was introduced in 1990 to maintain religious harmony in multicultural Singapore. However, society and its elements have changed considerably since then and we must take necessary steps to ensure that the scope and reach of this legislation are adequate to safeguard Singapore from new challenges. Specifically, two important developments have become more pronounced and require our immediate attention.
First, the porosity of Singapore’s borders to ideas, capital and people, as part of the greater global push on globalisation, means that we are vulnerable to foreign elements who may endanger our religious harmony. As a stable, prosperous and harmonious society, there will be many around the world who, for various reasons, may want to disrupt our peace and create divisions here. Second, the emergence of new technology since the 1990s has also increased the velocity and spread of information and ideas. Today, through social media and communication technologies, ideas, no matter how vile, can be magnified and divide societies at an unprecedented pace and reach. Singapore is no less vulnerable.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has engaged and consulted the Sikh Advisory Board (SAB) with regards to MRHA amendments and we are appreciative and glad that the amendments to the MRHA incorporate the feedback from the SAB. The SAB is encouraged that the review of the MRHA addresses both of the growing challenges highlighted above as well as other feedback. We welcome the proposed changes as it strengthens our safeguards for religious harmony, while not placing onerous requirements on communities, groups and individuals who are law-abiding and preserve Singapore’s social stability. The SAB is supportive of the amendments to the MRHA.
Racial Harmony & Peace Prayer
Seen here are various representatives from faiths in Singapore, gathering for prayers for peace and racial harmony – Includes Bahai, Sikh, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Taoism, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Jewish and Hinduism.
Mr Gurmit Singh, second from left, representing the Sikh faith.