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Low Yen Ling on National Symbols Bill

16:09 Min

The national flag could be displayed more often, outside the National Day period, and its image put to more artistic and creative use, under revised regulations in a new Bill. This comes as Singaporeans increasingly want to use the flag and its image to show national pride and solidarity in ways that were not anticipated in 1959, when the current law was instituted. Technology has also created new ways to reproduce and communicate the image of the flag. The proposed changes follow two years of public consultation and recommendations by a citizens’ workgroup. The Bill will enable a prescribed person such as the Culture, Community and Youth Minister to permit the use of a national symbol in appropriate situations, as well as prohibit their disrespectful use. The greater flexibility is balanced with updated penalties for misuse - a maximum fine of S$30,000, up from S$1,000 which was set in 1959, and up to six months’ jail. Any prosecution can only be instituted by or with the consent of the public prosecutor, to ensure that it is in the public interest. Apart from the national flag, state crest and national anthem, the national pledge, national flower, lion head symbol and public seal will also be recognised as national symbols. The Bill also grants statutory recognition and protection to three presidential symbols - the presidential standard, presidential crest and presidential seal. The details were shared in Parliament by Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling on Tuesday (Sep 13).

The national flag could be displayed more often, outside the National Day period, and its image put to more artistic and creative use, under revised regulations in a new Bill. This comes as Singaporeans increasingly want to use the flag and its image to show national pride and solidarity in ways that were not anticipated in 1959, when the current law was instituted. Technology has also created new ways to reproduce and communicate the image of the flag. The proposed changes follow two years of public consultation and recommendations by a citizens’ workgroup. The Bill will enable a prescribed person such as the Culture, Community and Youth Minister to permit the use of a national symbol in appropriate situations, as well as prohibit their disrespectful use. The greater flexibility is balanced with updated penalties for misuse - a maximum fine of S$30,000, up from S$1,000 which was set in 1959, and up to six months’ jail. Any prosecution can only be instituted by or with the consent of the public prosecutor, to ensure that it is in the public interest. Apart from the national flag, state crest and national anthem, the national pledge, national flower, lion head symbol and public seal will also be recognised as national symbols. The Bill also grants statutory recognition and protection to three presidential symbols - the presidential standard, presidential crest and presidential seal. The details were shared in Parliament by Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling on Tuesday (Sep 13).

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