SINGAPORE

Singapore’s first gay politician quits to focus on rights

Singapore's Vincent Wijeysingha resigns as treasurer of opposition Democratic Party

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 1:47am
 

Singapore's first openly gay politician has announced that he is quitting politics to focus on promoting gay rights and other human rights issues.

Vincent Wijeysingha, who came out as gay last month, issued a statement on Facebook on Wednesday saying he was resigning from the opposition Singapore Democratic Party.

I have taken the difficult decision to resign my membership of the SDP in order to explore how I can be of service to the wider cause of our civil liberties, a project which I believe to be the dominant mission of this present period

"I believe that, as a nation, we have a limited appreciation of civil liberties: they have not penetrated deeply into our civic discourse and public administration.

"There is a great deal of work ahead if we are to achieve the full range of our fundamental liberties," said Wijeysingha, who served as the party's treasurer.

"I have taken the difficult decision to resign my membership of the SDP in order to explore how I can be of service to the wider cause of our civil liberties, a project which I believe to be the dominant mission of this present period."

Party chairman Jufrie Mahmood said in a statement he was disappointed to see Wijeysingha leave but fully supported his decision.

"Our loss is civil society's gain," he said.

Homosexual acts between men are still illegal in conservative, tightly-controlled Singapore, although the law is rarely enforced.

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