PSP not 'missing in action' on 377A issue, will address it in Parliament later in Nov.: Francis Yuen


Nigel Chua | November 08, 2022, 12:24 PM

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The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is not "missing in action" on the issues surrounding Section 377A of the Penal Code, said PSP Secretary-General, Francis Yuen on Monday (Nov. 7).

Over the weekend at the People's Action Party (PAP) conference on Nov. 6, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is PAP Secretary-General, made remarks on the opposition, saying they were "missing in action" on the issue of 377A, and that they had not revealed if they were for or against the government's current proposal to repeal 377A and amend the constitution.

PM Lee also said the opposition parties did not propose any alternative proposals, saying nothing so far and declining to comment instead.

He said their fear of displeasing anyone meant that they have gone "AWOL" — using the military acronym for "Absent Without Official Leave" — something they could not be if they ever hoped to govern Singapore.

He added that they could not lie low and disappear when it suited them.

These remarks by PM Lee were captured on the PAP's website,

“Where is the opposition on 377A? Are they critiquing the government’s approach? Do they support or oppose what the government is doing? Are they offering alternative proposals? None of the above. The Opposition is missing in action. They have said nothing so far. They declined all comment. They refuse even to say whether they have a party position, or if they will lift the whip on their MPs when Parliament votes on the amendments, which is going to do at the end of this month. Because why? Because they do not want to displease anyone therefore they have gone AWOL.”

PSP not missing in action

In apparent response to these comments, Yuen said his party's Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) would be addressing the "thorny issue" of the repeal of 377A in Parliament, and that the PSP was "far from going 'MIA' or missing in action."

Yuen called attention to other "pressing issues" such as the rising cost of living, and "the threat of global recession affecting jobs and livelihoods".

He said we are at a "crucial time" in light of these issues, and that it is "disingenuous" for the PAP to make "sweeping remarks" about opposition parties.

"We should all be focused instead on how to surmount these challenges in the immediate future as individuals and as a nation," said Yuen in a Facebook post on Nov. 7.

Ruling party should not make "snide remarks"

"In the midst of such pressing economic challenges, the ruling party should refrain from making snide remarks about its political opponents," added Yuen.

He contended that it was the PAP that has "gone missing" on its promise to be a more open and transparent government that was willing to dialogue with Singaporeans.

"No one party has monopoly of talent or have all the answers. It is more productive and in the people’s interests to encourage free contestation of ideas than to make unhelpful and cynical remarks about alternative political parties," he said.

PSP's previous remarks on 377A

Following PM Lee's National Day rally speech, where he announced that the government will repeal 377A, PSP NCMP Leong Mun Wai told reporters that PSP is happy that the Government has come up with a clear position that appears to balance the interests of both sides very well.

But he added that the party will have to look at the details of the legislation.

Meanwhile, the PSP declined Mothership's requests for comment from the party, but the party said it will debate the matter in Parliament.

On Oct. 20, the details of the government's proposed amendments were introduced in two bills proposing amendments to the Penal Code and the Constitution.

The debate on the two bills is expected at the end of November.

Top image via Francis Yuen and PAP on Facebook