The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a reminder to foreign businesses following a statement by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which she asked leaders of the business community in Singapore to support the LGBT community.
Pelosi said in a statement that she had engaged with leaders of the business community and stressed the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to foster strong economic growth across the region.
She added, "We asked for their (business leaders') support for the LGBTQ community in Singapore, as more American businesses are establishing and adding offices in Singapore."
MHA: LGBT issues are matters for Singaporeans to discuss
In response to media queries about Pelosi's statement, MHA said that while foreign businesses are free to promote diversity within their firms, they should be careful about advocacy on issues in Singapore which are potentially socially divisive, The Straits Times reported.
This includes issues surrounding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, MHA pointed out.
"These are matters for Singaporeans to discuss and come to a consensus on how to move forward," the ministry added.
Background to remarks by Pelosi and MHA
Pelosi arrived in Singapore late on Jul. 31, starting the first leg of her visit to Asia.
On Aug. 1, Pelosi led a courtesy call at the Istana with a U.S. congressional delegation of five other congressmen from her Democratic party.
They met with President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as Minster for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.
They also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, and Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
The day before Pelosi's arrival on Jul. 30, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that most Singaporeans do not want the current position of marriage being between a man and a woman to be changed, even though many of them agree that sex between men should not be a crime.
Such matters ought not to be discussed and decided in the courts but in Parliament, he added.
He also urged those in Singapore to avoid taking extreme positions on the issue and said that the way forward was to work out differences calmly for the sake of the country.
Top collage left photo from Minister of Home Affairs Singapore/Facebook, right photo via House Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Facebook