Issues of Civil Rights in Singapore

This entry marks the end of the two-week hiatus. If not for the splitting headache and bouts of nausea, I would have elaborated on my vacation plans. I will however talk about two legal issues: Section 377A and ISA.


Repeal Section 377A

Had you read my earlier posts, you would know I intended to discuss the issue of the repealing Section 377A of Singapore’s penal code. To start off, I am for repealing this section of the penal code.

This section is a mark of discrimination towards gay people. It criminalises sexual acts between two males, even though it has not been actively enforced. And assumingly, the sole reason for the lack of enforcement is to attract foreign talents, of which, some are gay.

Expressed by the government about why this law is kept, includes Singaporeans being a conservative bunch and they don’t want to promote the gay lifestyle. Citizens against the repeal cite moral and religious reasons.

Firstly, I disagree with the “close-one-eye” attitude. The mark of a solid legal system would be its enforcement. If it is in the law enforce it. Do not have two minds about it. It is hypocritical to want not to “glorify the gay lifestyle” but go after their wallets and talents. Have some dignity. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law, but Section 377A clearly implies that homosexuals are regarded as inferiors.

Hitting at the core, this issue is neither one of morality nor religion. Singapore is a secular nation, which basically means god does not participate in politics. Let there be no pretence and denial that it is fear that is doing the talking. It is always fear that inspires hate. So be open, do not let religion and morality be the pretext against the repeal.

With this fear, terms like ‘gay lifestyle’ have sprouted. What does promotion mean? Upon contemplation, the term ‘gay lifestyle’ simply means kissing and fucking a person of the same gender. How can it be promoted? One would have thought it was some sinister commercial organisation that parades in public in leather suits filled with holes at inappropriate places.

It is in my opinion that the arguments presented against the repeal are flawed. They rely heavily on circular arguments that weakly attempts to justify keeping section 377A. (E.g. What if there is a rise in gay prostitution?, What if my son decides to be gay?, etc.). I’m for repealing this section of the penal code, because we must uphold the law’s stand on being fair to all. And if it is not repealed, enforce the law. Don’t be a hypocrite.

The Room for Abuse of in the Internal Security Act (ISA)

Just as pressing, or even more important, is the Internal Security Act. If you read the papers, you would briefly know what this act entails. It allows the arrest of a person, who is deemed a threat to security, without right to trial.

This is barely acceptable, even if it is indeed used for its purpose. The purpose of a trial is to determine if a person is guilty of what he/she is accused of. It would decrease the chances of capturing the wrong person. The law believes that it is better to free 100 guilty men than incarcerate an innocent man. This principle has clearly been violated.

Furthermore, the ISA allows room for abuse. The fact that the government, present and future, can use the ISA as a pretext for something more ghastly should worry us. Do we want to allow for more arsenal against our freedom and rights, if Singapore does one day elect a tyrant government by mistake?

I agree that the ISA is useful, especially when terrorism is the latest trend. However, this piece of legislation should be altered to eliminate the room for abuse. History has shown that not everyone can be trusted with power. Remember Uncle Hitler and Grandpa Hussein? Should we do nothing now, the consequences in the future may be more regrettable.

Disclaimer: Whatever expressed here are my opinions. You are welcome to disagree or simply regard me as a raving lunatic. I may disagree with the government on certain matters but they have done a good job overall thus far.



Imprisoned Without A Trial

There was a civil rights demonstration in KL, Malaysia, by a minority race. They have warned that the ISA (Internal Security Act) will be used if necessary. These set of laws allow the imprisonment of a person, without trial, for a certain period. Originally evoked to keep Communism at bay, they have been wrongfully used to quell opposition.

I’m disgusted that fear of opposition has justified this injustice. The ISA may have been well-intentioned but it ought to be tightened. There must be no room for it to be abused. Imprisonment without a trial would mean no analysis if the guilty is actually guilty. And that the purpose of imprisonment was actually for security.

We may be talking about Malaysia here, but Singapore have this set of laws. It was inherited during the merger with Malaysia, and was retained after separation. Enough said. We shall watch the events as they unfold.