Singaporeans residents will have to take in all national flag they displayed outside their homes before this Wednesday (30 September) or risk a fine of up to $1,000 under the Singapore Arms and Flag and National Anthem (SAFNA) Rules.
As stated in the SAFNA rules, the National flag can be displayed outside a building or in an open space at any time during the period beginning 1 July and ending on 30 September of each year.
It added, “Any person who knowingly does any act in relation to the Flag in contravention of any of the provisions of rule or contravenes rule in relation to the Flag shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.”
Earlier in April, the SAFNA rules have also been amended to allow the display of Flag from 25 April to 30 June after the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) received public request “who are keen to display the National Flag as a demonstration of unity and solidarity with others in society, even as we may be physically apart” amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is heartening to know that Singaporeans want to rally around the National Flag – an emblem of our shared values, identity and future. It is also a call for us to work together and stand resilient in the face of a crisis like this. This exemplifies the Singapore Together spirit,” said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu in the press statement.
The amendment was also approved by the President Halimah Yaacob who wrote in her Facebook page that she was “heartened by the desire of Singaporeans to show our solidarity”.
“Our National Flag signifies Singaporeans’ resilience, unity and future. Usually, it is flown at our residences across our island only during the National Day period.
“In view of this difficult time of COVID-19, many Singaporeans have asked to be allowed to display our Flag beyond the usual period, so that we can express our unity with one another. I’m heartened by the desire of Singaporeans to show our solidarity,” the President said.
However, TOC reported that the response from the public has been below average as there are hardly any flags hung out by residents at their homes since the President made her call on April.
In fact, some do not have flags to put up, while some cannot be bothered to display the national flag to show solidarity in the battle against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Penning their comments on the Facebook page of The Straits Times, many netizens were upset with the Government for imposing fine on this matter.
They agreed that “having a faded flag is disrespectful”, however, the Government’s move to impose fine to those who left the flag hanging outside for long is a “strange logic” and “definitely a deterrent for some to even want to put up the national flag in the future”.
One netizen believes that this rule might be “the reason why nobody wants to hang the flag these days” despite the difficult time of the pandemic, general election or even the National Day’s call for unity.
Another netizen also said that there were no such rules – impose fine for hanging flag – during the old times.
On the other hand, a few netizens felt that it is reasonable to impose fine so as to prevent people from damaging the flag due to neglecting. “In a way, it’s to protect the image of our country flag.”