Presidential Council For Minority Rights - Powers and Functions - Bills - Excluded Types of Bills

Excluded Types of Bills

Three types of bills are expressly excluded from the scrutiny of the PCMR:

  1. Money bills; that is, bills which contains provisions dealing with public money, taxation, payments of debts or charges on public funds, grants of money to the Government, the raising or guaranteeing of loans, and any ancillary matters relating to such matters.
  2. Bills that the Prime Minister certifies as affecting "the defence or security of Singapore, or which relate to the public safety, peace or good order of Singapore".
  3. Bills that the Prime Minister certifies to be so urgent that any delay in enactment would be detrimental to the public welfare.

It has been argued that such exemptions are too wide and may be open to abuse. For instance, it is up to the Speaker to determine whether any bill falls within the definition of a money bill, and once he has certified his opinion on the matter in writing, that is "conclusive for all purposes and shall not be open to question in any court". Moreover, grounds upon which bills may be excluded such as "public safety" and "peace", have been described as "nebulous" with potentially wide definitions that are open to abuse by the government in power. As regards a bill that has been enacted on a certificate of urgency and assented to by the President, the Speaker is required to send the Act of Parliament to the Council as soon as possible for its report, which is then presented to Parliament. However, the Constitution contains no provisions as to any steps that Parliament is required to take to amending the Act if an adverse report is made.

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