NDR 2022: WP recognises right of people to live free from discrimination, will join S377A debate in Parliament

Leader of the Opposition and Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh at the National Day Rally on Aug 21, 2022. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party (WP) recognises the fundamental right of people to live free from fear and discrimination and be treated equally under the law.

It also respects the right of different groups to hold and discuss positions according to their conscience, said the WP in a statement on Sunday (Aug 21).

It was responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement in his National Day Rally speech that the Government will repeal Section 377A, which criminalises sex between men.

The WP statement said: "Singapore is a pluralistic society that consists of multiple religions, ethnicities, cultures and languages. Mutual accommodation and tolerance are critical considerations for legislation in our context."

The WP - Singapore's biggest opposition party - also said it will participate in upcoming debates in Parliament on the sensitive issue.

It said: "We will participate in the debate in Parliament on the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code and the proposed change to the Constitution relating to marriage, in light of the amendments that the Government will table."

The WP also said that while issues involving 377A and the definition of marriage are important for Singapore society, the country faces many other issues at a time when inflation is high and the cost of living continues to affect households.

It said these have been especially hard on those with fixed incomes and low to middle incomes, and that the Government can do more.

The WP said: "On inflation, there is room to strengthen the Singapore dollar further to make our imports cheaper and sell long bonds to dampen speculative investment.

"In addition, we have to keep a lid on asset prices, spend to support those among us who are hurting most for a temporary period."

The WP also urged the Government not to impose the planned hike in the goods and services tax.

"It adds to inflation at a time when it is wholly unnecessary," WP said.

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