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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 4 No 1 (2002)

'We' v 'I': Communitarian Legalism in Singapore

Eugene KB Tan is a Lecturer, Department of Law, School of Business, Singapore Management University, Singapore.

This article examines the communitarian ethos in the politico-legal system and its impact on constitutional adjudication in Singapore. In contradistinction to the Western notion of 'natural' rights premised on the dignity of the person, the Singapore judiciary tends to accord greater weight to the rights and interests of the community, as defined by the government. Indeed, Singapore-style communitarianism is an axiom of faith in the governance of Singapore. It results in a premium being placed on security consciousness, economic growth and nation-building. The article argues that a more robust approach by the courts, articulating the principles and rationale for balancing the rights of the individual vis--vis that of the community, is necessary.

(2002) 4(1) Asian Law 1

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