SingaporeMHA says it will not take action against organisers of anti-repeal S377A...

MHA says it will not take action against organisers of anti-repeal S377A townhall, LGBT groups worry about hate crimes

About 1,200 people gathered at the Singapore Expo recently to discuss the activities of gay, bisexual and transgender groups leading some people to make police reports. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) made it clear that the gathering was not illegal, and the authorities would not pursue any action.

According TODAY, the rally held last Saturday (July 23) was called the “Protect Singapore Townhall” (Protect Singapore Townhall). It called for additional legislation can be made to protect families and children if Section 377A were to be repealed. Sex between men is illegal under Section 377A.

MHA said in response to TODAY’s enquiries that anyone and religious groups have the right to speak out on different topics, including gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people, as long as they do not denigrate any group. , without breaking the law, they can freely express their views. “We will not be taking any action against the organisers as there is no criminal offence disclosed.”

Jason Wong, one of the organisers, pointed out that the rally is mainly to raise awareness about the impact of LGBT activities, not to promote hatred. 

In its reply, the MHA also revealed that the organiser of the event had applied for

The event organiser for the Protect Singapore Townhall had applied for a police permit, and informed the police that the event was by-invite only, involving only members of her organisation and invited guests. “Police had assessed that a permit under the Public Order Act was not required as this was a private event.”

The flyers distributed by the organizers at the rally showed that in addition to demanding the repeal of Section 377A, the LGBTQ community is also pushing for a number of legal, policy and social reforms, including requiring the recognition of same-sex marriages and the acceptance of joint purchases of HDB flats by same-sex couples.

Sponsors also stated on the flyer that the repeal of Section 377A should not be considered unless the government additionally legislates to protect the “one-man-one-woman family concept” and that children are not indoctrinated with homosexual thoughts and beliefs. 

On the other hand, a spokesperson for LGBT groups said they were concerned that such gatherings would lead to more public discrimination against LGBT groups. 

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Leow Yangfa, executive director of LGBT non-profit Oogachaga, said he was concerned that the event could mobilise more people to harass the LGBT community. He revealed that Oogachaga had recently received more calls and emails from members of the public accusing them of “talking too much” about the repeal of Section 377A.

Mr Clement Tan, speaking on behalf of LGBTQ+ advocacy group Pink Dot SG, said that no one community should have the power to define what another community can or cannot do.

“To do so would run counter to fundamental values of justice and equality, and upset the delicate balance of pluralism that Singapore has worked so hard to establish.”

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On that basis, he said that Pink Dot was concerned by some of the calls for action at the town hall, which include “enshrining religious values into the supreme law of the land”.

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