ST Online Forum: Minority groups also have every right to be represented (Oct 20)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Minority groups also have every right to be represented

MS JENICA Chua's objection to NMP Siew Kum Hong representing the petition to repeal Section 377A, 'NMP overstepped role in championing gay cause' (ST, Oct 17), shows the kind of prejudice that we must not condone.

Why must an MP represent only the majority's views? Do minority groups like single mothers, people born with a disability, those born into a minority race, etc, have no right to have their views represented?

If the Government can recognise that minority races' interests must be protected through GRCs, why shouldn't MPs see it as their duty to speak up for other minority groups' legitimate rights and interests too? In fact, as responsible citizens, we should do the same; and the petition is doing just that.

Homosexuals are citizens too. Their only 'crime' is to be born a 'homosexual' instead of a 'heterosexual', which has, sadly, made them a much misunderstood and maligned group.

The petition to repeal Section 377A is not a gay issue; it is an issue of justice and equality for all citizens. Those who sign the petition are not necessarily homosexuals but simply citizens who believe that the law should no longer treat homosexuals as criminals.

Even our Minister Mentor recognises that homosexuals are born that way. Our Government has also stated that the law, if retained, would not be enforced. There can be no clearer indications than these that homosexuals are not criminals and homosexual relationships should not be treated as crimes to be busted.

Moreover, the Government has sought the public's feedback on Section 377A, so the petition is a legitimate response that should be given equal hearing like other representations made. It contributes to giving the Government a more complete picture of what the public thinks about the issue.

To deny access to a legitimate representation is to suggest that we curtail the democratic process and colour the feedback to the Government.

Ms Chua's argument reflect the kind of ignorance and prejudice that a minority group in Singapore has suffered for far too long.

Wong Suan Yin