Parliamentary debate on Section 377A, part 12: Ong Kian Min

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

Source: Parliamentary Reports

23 October 2007, 3:25 pm, in Parliament

Mr Ong Kian Min (Tampines): Sir, I wish to express my support for the proposed amendments to the Penal Code.

Section 377A.  I would state categorically that I am not in favour of mainstreaming the homosexual lifestyle, but have not intended to speak on section 377A as the Government has consulted widely.  Many have spoken on this issue and most Singaporeans let out a sigh of relief when they noticed that this Amendment Bill left the existing section 377A intact.  Well, I do not want to dwell into the hypothetical scenario painted by Mr Baey Yam Keng as the fact remains that, outraged by Mr Siew Kum Hong’s open Petition, many of my concerned constituents and friends have come forward to voice out their extreme unease about how this issue might evolve.  And they feel that it is about time they let their stand be made known.  They have come out more forcefully to make their views known and the Tampines GRC MPs have promised to express some of these views for them, the hitherto silent majority.

I would like to quote from one of my residents from my GRC, Miss Samantha Wong of Tampines Street  81:

“I cannot imagine the repercussions it [repeal of section 377A] would have on the morality of the society.  This is a place where my children and children’s children would grow up in.  Thus I plead that this decision [the Government’s decision in not changing section 377A] would not change for the sake of upholding the moral standards and family values in this nation.  In no way does this petition [Mr Siew Kum Hong’s petition] serve the interests of Singapore or us as Singaporeans, but only a small portion pushing to serve their own personal interests/agenda.”

Sir, whether section 377A should be repealed or retained is an emotive issue that has aroused much debate.  It has forced us to examine our beliefs and convictions against the context of changing perceptions and values that have happened over time.  Judging by the number of signatures that the two opposing websites – “Repeal377A” and “Keep377A” – have amassed, it has compelled many of us to make a stand for what we believe in.

The true crux of the matter is whether Singaporeans are ready to openly accept homosexuality into mainstream society.  Although a vocal segment of society has garnered much support for the repeal of section 377A, the majority of Singaporeans have unequivocally rejected these cries to decriminalise homosexuality.  The overwhelming sentiment of Singaporeans is that they are not prepared to compromise their conservative family values by opening up to alternative sexual behaviour, nor allowing it to permeate across time honoured boundaries into the conventional family sanctity.

Sir, I would like to thank Prof. Thio for giving me a history lesson yesterday on how the concept of marriage and modern-day family came about.  The family unit has been acknowledged as the building block of society, praised as the foundation of social order and exalted as the bastion of civilisation.  It is the family that nurtures our children.  It is the family that inspires us to contribute to our community.  It is the family that believes in working towards a future.  Every nation is fully cognisant of the importance of the family as the primary source of stability and growth. Singapore is no different.  Our Government has demonstrated its commitment to preserve and strengthen the family structure through pro-family laws and policies.  I believe that a great majority are keen to preserve the family unit as we know it –  a family unit that consists of a father, a mother and their children.

In a fast-changing world, the traditional family unit is already vulnerable to various encroachments such as rising divorce rates, the increase in the number of single-parent households and work pressures.  We must do all we can to support the integrity of the family and keep it safe from further challenges.  By promoting homosexuality, we are effectively initiating a shift in the definition of the family unit.  I gravely fear that repealing section 377A will lead to calls for further integration of homosexuality into our society.  Singaporeans are simply not ready to change their family values at this point in time.  Encouraging homosexuality will undermine the traditional family institution and weaken our social fabric.  Let the family unit not be compromised.

The majority of Singaporeans want their children to grow up in a traditional environment that espouses healthy and wholesome traditional family values.  We do not want the homosexual lifestyle to be promoted or celebrated.

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