Dear Editor,

I refer to The Independent Singapore’s article, “S377A: “Doing the right thing” – or killing the Opposition softly?” (Dec 4).

In the recent parliamentary debate on the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes sexual relations between consenting adult males, the Workers’ Party (WP) lifted its party whip and allowed WP Members of Parliament to vote according to their conscience on the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code.

A household has its house rules or domestic discipline exercised by the head of the household. Similarly, a political party has its party rules too. And a political party’s discipline and rules are enforced by its whip. A whip ensures that members of the party vote according to the party platform rather than according to their own individual ideology.

So why did WP resort to such a bold yet meaningful decision on this controversial subject? I think the following were the most probable rationales:

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Firstly, WP believes or chooses to believe in democracy, even though democracy is a double-edged sword. If it is not duly managed, it could hurt the Workers’ Party. However, WP has full confidence in its elected MPs and would like to put its unity to the test.

WP also displays its conviction in diversity, as beauty in nature is admirable and notable. Similarly, each individual has rights which must never be taken away. As each Workers’ Party MP is entitled to freedom of expression, they should be allowed to voice their concerns, worries, and expectations without mental restriction or “shackles”.

Undeniably, a political party’s unity is of utmost importance, especially in any situation of adversity or difficulty. And it is usually centred upon the solidarity of the party’s leadership. In this instance, the Workers’ Party has fulfilled this criterion, as can be observed from the vast positive responses or feedback from netizens.

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On the contrary, PAP has not yet reached that stage of maturity in the relaxation of its whip, even with its long-established history. Or, perhaps PAP has its own “considerations”?

Teo Kueh Liang

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Independent Singapore.

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S377A: “Doing the right thing” – or killing the Opposition softly?