377A: Worker’s Party inability to make tough decisions collectively puts into question their ability to govern

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh (Workers’ Party) lifts party whip in Monday’s parliamentary seating regarding the repeat of Section 377A in the Penal Code.

4 Workers’ Party (WP) MPs support the repeal of Section 377A while another 3 said they would vote against the scrapping of the law.


  • Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC)
  • Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC)
  • Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC)
  • Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC)


  • Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC)
  • Dennis Tan (Hougang)
  • Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC)

WP’s historical position on 377A

Pritam noted that in 2019, he had stated his party’s position on 377A was similar to that of Singapore as a whole in a speech to the National University of Singapore Political Association. 

“It was varied and diverse, with no consensus as to whether 377A should be repealed,” he said. 

In that same speech, Pritam said the LGBTQ community “should not be exploited for political points”. He reiterated that the WP neither took up the cause of LGBTQ+ rights, nor stood against it as it “would not be good for SIngapore politics…”

Inability to take a united stand puts into question the reliability of the Workers’ Party on making tough binary decisions

Leaders are elected on behalf of the common people so they can be depended upon to make tough decisions when the situation calls for it – decisions that the laymen would not have to deal with in the normal course of their lives.

WP’s differing positions on Section 377A has sent a message to citizens that there is no united party stand on the issue. To put it in laymen: a fence-sitter.

It sends the message that WP does not want to upset any group. There is no cohesiveness and clarity between the party members. And when push comes to shove on hot-button issues, WP conveniently lifts the whip so as to make it seem like that are not taking sides.

But hard decisions have to be made in government.

It is not a question of opposition, but about administration.

If a political party cannot take a stand, then how can we expect them to administer our social order if they are in power?

Singapore Government takes a position of clarity and compromise despite unpopular views

In contrast to WP’s position (or lack thereof), the Singapore government has taken upon themselves to set the discourse on the way forward despite knowing that it would stir up certain quarters, especially the more conservative Singaporeans.

Speaking at the same parliamentary debate, law minister K Shanmugam said: “The time has come for us to remove Section 377A. It humiliates and hurts gay people.

“If we approached this purely as politicians, concerned only with votes and not making anyone unhappy or making as few people as unhappy as possible, then that route … would have been easier. Pretend these issues do not exist … leave it to the courts,” he continued. 

“But this Government will not take that approach. As elected representatives of the people, we cannot do that.”

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