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No plans to fine those displaying Singapore flag after Sep 30: Edwin Tong

No plans to fine those displaying Singapore flag after Sep 30: Edwin Tong

The Singapore flag displayed outside HDB flats. (Photo: Facebook/Edwin Tong)

SINGAPORE: Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong on Wednesday (Sep 30) said there was no intention of penalising people who display the Singapore flag after Sep 30.

In a Facebook post, Mr Tong said some concerns were raised after it was reported that people who continued to fly the Singapore flag after Sep 30 would be fined.

"Let me assure you: As far as I know, no one has ever been fined for this, nor do we plan to do so," said Mr Tong.

According to several reports, residents risked being fined up to S$1,000 under the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem (SAFNA) Act if they displayed the Singapore flag after Sep 30.

However, Mr Tong said action would be taken in cases of deliberate disrespect against the Singapore flag in any way, adding that the rules were meant to "safeguard the dignity" of the flag.

"There’s no reason to 'punish' those who treat it with respect and dignity, and are proud to showcase the Singapore spirit. Patriotism is not just a right, it’s simply right," he said.

The SAFNA Act, which governs the use of the national flag, has been in place since 1959, said Mr Tong.

The legislation was amended in 2007 to allow people to display the flags from their homes from Jul 1 to Sep 30.

READ: Singapore flag may be displayed now until September as 'demonstration of unity, solidarity' during COVID-19 outbreak: MCCY

Following public feedback earlier this year, a one-time extension was made to allow people to display the flags from Apr 25 as a "unifying symbol" against COVID-19.

Mr Tong said MCCY has already initiated a review of SAFNA to look at a number of issues, including allowing more occasions on which the national flag can be displayed, while protecting its dignity from "extended display or neglect".

Mr Tong also invited Singaporeans to share their ideas on how the flag may be used to express national pride and identity. They can submit their ideas at https://go.gov.sg/singaporeflag.

"There are few sights as stirring and revealing of our national pride and solidarity as the display of the Singapore flag outside our homes. It’s an expression of love and a symbol of our national values," said Mr Tong.

Source: CNA/lk
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