Holding referendum is the answer

The Section 377A issue has the potential to divide Singapore and split us into two irreconcilable camps.

Maintaining the status quo is deemed a violation of the rights of a small minority of Singaporeans while repealing it, unfortunately, would offend a large majority of conservative citizens.

We are told, and many believe, that Singaporeans are conservative and demand that Section 377A remain on the legal statutes.

Is this even true? Have there been any real polls done to confirm this? There is only one way to find out. I suggest that the Singapore Government carry out a referendum to decide what Singaporeans want to do about Section 377A.

This should be a non-binding, compulsory vote carried out according to the rules familiar to the Elections Department.

If the pro-repeal camp wins the majority vote or the results are close with a less than 10 per cent difference, then Parliament would be deemed to have the moral duty to work on amending or repealing Section 377A.

However, if the vote is decisive for retention, then the repeal camp must agree not to have any referendums for at least 10 years. This allows the Government to carry out its duties for the majority that wants Section 377A to be retained.

Of course, some will argue against this as an example of "ruling by referendum" but don't people want to know how middle Singapore feels about this? I sure do.

Huang Shoou Chyuan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'Holding referendum is the answer'. Print Edition | Subscribe