'We don't have gay agenda'

By Bryna Sim & Melvin Singh

DECLARE your political agenda and motives.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and the People's Action Party Holland-Bukit Timah team laid down that challenge to Dr Vincent Wijeysingha.

Dr Wijeysingha leads the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in contesting for the same GRC. His party secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan, responded in a video on the party's website. "We are not pursuing the gay agenda," he said.

What gay agenda is he talking about?

The background to this bloody battle for the GRC is a YouTube video entitled "Vincent Wijeysingha - Gay Agenda", uploaded on April 14 by a contributor with the moniker "JohnTan88888".

The video was later tagged with the statement, "This is the video the Singapore Democratic Party is trying to hide."

In the video shot during a forum, a speaker refers to Dr Wijeysingha as possibly the first gay MP (Member of Parliament).

Dr Wijeysingha speaks after he is introduced.

Addressing a crowd of about 10 people in the undated video, the speaker calls for a constitutional challenge to repeal Section 377A.

The PAP team quoted Dr Wijeysingha as saying at the forum: "I think the gay community has to rally ourselves.

"Perhaps one outcome of today's forum would be, for those of us who are interested, to come together to further consider how we can address the 377 issue as well as further rights issues in relation to gays and lesbians."

Would Singaporeans mind if their MP is gay?

Of 100 people polled by The New Paper, 76 said they would have no issue. (See poll results below.)

But in its statement, PAP's Holland-Bukit Timah team said: "The issue is not Wijeysingha's sexual orientation. That is a matter for him."

Instead, the statement said the video raises the question on whether Dr Wijeysingha would "pursue this cause in the political arena".

In response, Dr Chee said: "Dr Vivian Balakrishnan has asked whether the SDP is pursuing the gay agenda.

"Let me state categorically, we are not pursuing the gay agenda, and none of our MPs will." Repeal Section 377a

While SDP said it is not pursuing the "gay agenda", it has been championing the repealing of Section 377a.

In the YouTube video, the speaker calls for a constitutional challenge to repeal Section 377a of the Penal Code, dubbed by some in the gay community as the anti-gay law. The section states that it's a crime for men to commit an act of gross indecency with each other.

The New Paper asked Dr Chee during an SDP press conference yesterday where the party stands on the law.

He said: "We do not discriminate against race, religion or sexual orientation. We are very sure that we want to speak up for all Singaporeans."

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