Essay On Secularism In Singapore

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In Lee Kuan Yew’s 1987 National Day Rally speech, he delivered the following lines which summed up his views regarding the role of religions within Singapore’s political and economic framework - “Churchmen, lay preachers, priests, monks, Muslim theologians, all those who claim divine sanctions of holy insights, take of your clerical robes before you take on anything economic or political”. In order to facilitate the varying demands and needs of a multireligious and multiethnic society, the Singapore government has always maintained and advocated a secular stance in its governance of Singapore. In the Singaporean context, the separation of politics and religion promoted by the government can be classified as a form of ‘modest’ secularism as…show more content…
Article 153 of the Constitution states: “The Legislature shall by law make provision for regulating Muslim religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the President in matters relating to the Muslim religion”. There is no equivalent provision in the Constitution with respect to other religions. The article authorizes the establishment of MUIS and the Syariah Court via the Administration of Muslim Law Act. The Court has jurisdiction throughout Singapore relating to matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance of the Muslim population. The act allows “for a limited degree of legal pluralism for the Muslim community”. Majlis Ugama Islam (MUIS), on the other hand has many roles one of which is “to advise the President of Singapore in matters relating to the Muslim religion in Singapore”. These special provisions declared within the Constitution to regulate and support Muslim practices and customs is a perfect example of how politics is still deeply entrenched in religious affairs even though the government might profess secular

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