The law of Singapore comprises the Constitution, legislation and subsidiary legislation. The Constitution lays down the fundamental principles and basic framework of state organisation and enshrines the fundamental rights of the individual.
Statutes or legislation are laws enacted by the Singapore Parliament as well as predecessor institutions that had the power to legislate for Singapore. Subsidiary legislation are minor rules made under the parent statute.
Special features of Singapore law: What you can and can't do
The running joke is that Singapore is a "fine" city. To maintain the clean and green city, there are strict laws against littering of any kind. First-time offenders face a fine of up to S$1,000. For repeat offenders--it's a fine of up to S$2,000 and a Corrective Work Order (CWO). The CWO requires litterbugs to spend a few hours cleaning a public place, for example, picking up litter in a park. The litterbugs are made to wear bright jackets, and sometimes, the local media are invited to cover the public spectacle. Naturally, the authorities hope that public shame will make diehard litterbugs think twice about tossing their scrap paper or cigarette butt on the roadside.
As an extension of the "no littering" mantra, the import, sale and possession of chewing gum is banned. You are also not allowed to bring in chewing gum for your own consumption. In short, no chewing gum whatsoever.
This rule was introduced because of the high cost and difficulty in removing stucked chewing gum from public premises. In particular, chewing gum stuck on the Mass Rapid Transit train doors stopped the trains from moving. It happened a few times and those were a few times too many.
Smoking is not allowed in public buses, taxis, lifts, theatres, cinemas, government offices, and in air-conditioned restaurants and shopping centres. First-time offenders face a maximum fine of S$1,000. Smoking is allowed in air-conditioned pubs, discos, karaoke bars and nightspots.
A definite no-no. The death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15g of heroin, 30g of morphine, 30g of cocaine, 500g of cannabis, 200g of cannabis resin and 1.2kg of opium. Possessing these quantities is deemed as prima facie evidence of trafficking. In other words, if you possess these quantities (and possession means you had control of them), you are deemed to be a trafficker and therefore subject to the death penalty.
The law has been effective in keeping out drugs in a country just a little over an hour from the Golden Triangle. When customs officials get a flight from Singapore, they do not inspect it as rigorously for drugs. However, you will read or hear of Singapore being used as a transit point for drugs and they therefore suggest that the drug laws are ineffective.
For unauthorised consumption, there is a maximum of 10 years' jail or fine of S$20,000, or both.