Code on religious harmony to be unveiled early next year: PM Goh

The Code on Religious Harmony is expected to be unveiled early next year, says Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Minister of State for Community Development and Sports Chan Soo Sen has been tasked with its progress.

Mr Goh gave this update at a community event on Sunday.

Unveiled by Mr Goh during his dialogue with community leaders, the Code on Religious Harmony is aimed at promoting greater inter-religious confidence among Singaporeans.

It is also aimed at preventing religion from being a source of conflict here.

Giving an update on the code, Mr Goh said it is not a new concept, but it would put the considerations of different religions into a declaration like a pledge.

This should be ready in four to six months' time.

Mr Goh said: "I've told MCDS to take charge, Chan Soo Sen's minister in charge of this progress, he will discuss with religious leaders, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Taoists, Buddhists, and so on. Then he'll take inputs to the IRO - inter-religious organisation, and the IRCCs, the national steering committee for IRCCs and let them sort it out."

Earlier, Mr Goh opened the new Ulu Pandan Community Club, the biggest CC in Singapore.

He said such clubs can bring people of different races and religions together through the right blend of activities - like computer classes and even workout sessions.

These would create more common space and foster greater social cohesion.

Muslim Affairs Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said the Code on Religious Harmony can help ensure more room for interaction amongst the various communities.

Speaking to reporters after a parenting forum on Saturday night, he said the code serves as a platform to strengthen and widen the common ground.

Dr Yaacob said: "The code is not something that is legally binding, it's basically a platform for us to strengthen what we've already achieved. We understand certain recent events may have affected trust and confidence levels between the various communities and since at the end of the day, Singapore is a plural society, I think what the PM wants to do is to give us a platform to find ways in which we can strengthen the common ground that we have."