Maintaining Racial and Religious Harmony

Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. Therefore, racial and religious harmony is vital for Singapore’s social cohesion. This harmony does not come naturally – we need to take the effort to build trust, and acceptance between different races and religions, and protect the common space that we have.

Through our legal framework comprising laws such as the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) and Penal Code, as well as partnerships and engagements with various stakeholders and the community, we will continue to ensure harmony, peace and security in our multi-racial, multi-religious society.

 

Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) takes a strong stance against threats to Singapore’s race and religious harmony. Legislation, such as the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, introduce powers that would allow pre-emptive action to be taken to maintain religious harmony in Singapore.

The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (MRHA) was enacted in 1990 to provide for powers to maintain religious harmony in Singapore.

It is based on two principles:

  1. Followers of different religions should exercise moderation and tolerance towards each other and their beliefs, and not instigate religious enmity or hatred

  2. Religion and politics should be kept separate


These principles remain relevant today. The MRHA was updated on 7 October 2019 to help MHA respond more effectively to incidents of religious disharmony, and strengthen our safeguards against foreign influence that threaten our religious harmony.

Here are the four key amendments to the MHRA:

 

Penal Code

Besides the offences pertaining to religion in the MRHA, it is also an offence under the Penal Code to:

 

The Penal Code also provides powers for the courts to sentence an offender to enhanced punishment if a person is convicted of a specified offence, which is racially or religiously aggravated.

 

Resources


Download the MRHA infographic (.pdf, 469KB)

 



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