Given its constitutional status, the Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) appears to be the highest organ within the Government mandated with the task of protecting the rights of members of minority groups. It is my understanding that the PCMR, which is chaired by the Chief Justice, may consider and report on legislative and policy matters affecting persons of ethnic and religious communities only if referred to by Parliament or the Government. I was surprised to learn that in 40 years of existence, the PCMR had never issued a statement or taken a position on any particular legislation or public policy that may have affected the rights of members of ethnic minority groups. Moreover, it seemed to me that there exists a potential conflict between the dual role of the Chief Justice as head of an independent judiciary (to which a case may be filed questioning the constitutionality of any law or policy) and as Chairperson of the PCMR.
- taken from the press statement delivered by Mr. Githu Muigai, the UN Special Rapporteur, on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in Singapore