Parliamentary debate on Section 377A, part 4: Zaqy Mohamad

Editor’s note: Only the parts of the speech touching on Sections 377A are archived here.

Source: Parliamentary Reports

22 October 2007, 5:11 pm, in Parliament

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Hong Kah): Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will begin my speech in Malay.

(In Malay) Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Penal Code amendments are timely and even necessary, with various developments in society, crime patterns and our social situation. Basically, these legislative amendments aim to continue to preserve Singapore’s well-being and security, and tighten our protection. From some changes suggested, we can see how the amendments aim to respect our daily lives as well as our multi-cultural and multi-religious culture. It also ensures our children are safely raised. It is our responsibility to protect our young children as they have the right to grow in a safe situation in this country.

Overall, I support the Government’s effort to update the Penal Code to protect our interests. However, there are a few areas that raise concerns and need further refinement. We have to look at the Penal Code changes in totality to bring the benefits and effectiveness of law to all levels of society. I hope that the focus of debate on this Bill will not be dragged into too much attention to heated arguments on homosexual activities under section 377A.

In my view, the Government’s status quo stand on homosexual activities under section 377A is for the benefit of society as a whole. The fact is, even though our country is open and receptive to changes and diversity, our society’s majority view is still conservative in many aspects of life. But I concede that current points of view, especially amongst youths, are changing to a more progressive one. Homosexual activities, although undoubtedly exist, are still considered a lifestyle outside the mainstream society. From a secular point of view, it is something personal and I feel that it is good to leave it as such. But many of my constituents and community leaders have given feedback that by making the activity not considered as an offence, it can be seen as an endorsement or support and this will divide society. They believe that the Government will make the appropriate decision that will reflect our social situation in Singapore. And this includes the consideration for the Petition presented by NMP Siew Kum Hong in Parliament just now. I feel we should not make the issue a big one, and let us look at the Penal Code amendments from a bigger perspective and for the benefit of the majority of Singaporeans.

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