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Why Article 5(2A) of the Constitution is not in force

The Law Minister explains why the article - which states that a national referendum has to be called, to change some parts of the Constitution - is not in force even though it was passed over a decade ago.

SINGAPORE: Law Minister K Shanmugam says Singapore cannot rule out changes to its tax system and the use of its investment returns. That is because of a rapidly ageing population that could continue to increase spending on healthcare and social services.

Any such changes will require an amendment to the Constitution. And this is one reason why the Government is not bringing into force Article 5(2A) of the Constitution yet.

Passed in 1991, the article states that for changes to certain parts of the Constitution, like those about the powers of the President, a national referendum has to be called. Mr Shanmugam was responding to a question from Nominated MP Eugene Tan, on why the article was still not in force.

"To bring Article 5(2A) into force before that would otherwise potentially trigger a national referendum each time we needed to make a further refinement or adjustment. Our view is that we should give ourselves more time, before entrenching the provisions," Mr Shanmugam said.

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