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Irregularities cited in “Keep 377A” petition signees by reader, asks what Govt is doing to protect SG’s secular democracy from religious groups

In a submission to TOC, a reader has raised his concerns regarding the dubiousness of a particular petition that calls for the retention of Section 377A in the Penal Code – a piece of legislation that criminalises sexual relations between two male adults – which has been a hotly debated subject of late.

The reader raised several "serious issues" regarding "this "keep 377A" petition," namely:

  1. It has accumulated lots of votes extremely quickly overnight, indicating foreign influence or automation;
  2. It does not demand/ask for citizenship status to validate and ensure that "real" Singaporeans are the ones who have signed it;
  3. It does not have adequate protection against automated data input (robots);
  4. It does not validate location or ask for postcodes;
  5. It does not guard against multiple inputs from the same network address;
  6. Email validation can be easily fooled by purchasing multi-use email domains very cheaply.

In the same letter, which he had addressed to the Penal Code Review Committee – one of the chairpersons being the Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Ms Indranee Rajah, to whom he had also personally written – the reader also questioned the Ministers' and relevant authorities' role in ensuring the validity of the personal identification numbers used by those who had signed the "Keep 377A" petition.

He had also suggested that the votes be "rejected completely," as the signees were not able to "supply even a simple postcode to go with a name".

The reader warned that a lack of proper, stringent verification system "raises serious and significant risks of foreign and fraudulent interference in our penal code review process".

He added that "the comments on their petition, which have been removed for violations of community guidelines, are overtly religious and discriminatory in nature, some are possibly criminal," which illustrates "the harm and discrimination that these people think they can use in public," on top of serving proof of "the divisive nature of the petition in general".

The bigoted sentiments of homophobic factions in Singapore are further amplified by what the reader referred to as "religious groups that have been pushing the petition and publicizing falsehoods that are divisive to society," and even several "famous religious leaders," who "can be seen pushing for the petition in this Facebook hate group".

The reader quoted the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Wong Kan Seng, who said: “If religious groups start to campaign to change certain government policies, or use the pulpit to mobilise their followers to pressure the government, or push aggressively to gain ground at the expense of other groups, this must lead to trouble”.

He then offered his commentary on Mr Wong's statement:

The above is evidence of overt religious interference in our secular laws and review process at the expense of LGBTQ+ Singaporeans. What are you going to do to protect our secular democracy and citizens from this?

TOC notes that the reader has also attempted to contact Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Chan Chun Sing, and several PAP Members of Parliament (MPs). However, he has yet to receive any response from the Ministers and MPs.

Previously, Mr Chan has expressed his personal views on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, saying that he will not discriminate LGBT individuals, adding: “I’m not a sex policeman”.

As for Singapore's founding Prime Minister, late Lee Kuan Yew made his stance clearly back in his 1987 National Day rally speech, where he said,

"Churchmen, lay preachers, priests, monks, Muslim theologians, all those who claim divine sanction or holy insights, take off your clerical robes before you take on anything economic or political...

...Take it off. Come out as a citizen or join a political party and it is your right to belabor the government, but use a church or a religion and your pulpit for these purposes and there will be serious repercussions,"

LKY warned priests must "stay out of espousing forms of economic systems, or challenge the way we do things, social policy or theory...Once religion crosses the line and goes into what they call social action, liberation theology, we are opening up Pandora´s Box in Singapore."