Suntec venue booking for Repeal Section 377A event cancelled due to 'unforeseen circumstances': organisers

(Screenshot: Ready4Repeal logo)
(Screenshot: Ready4Repeal logo)

An event organised by the team behind a petition to repeal Section 377A has had its venue booking at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre (Suntec) cancelled on Wednesday (26 September) due to “unforeseen circumstances”, four days before it was to take place on Sunday afternoon.

The Ready4Repeal event, described as a town hall discussion, was originally to be held from 2pm to 5pm at Nicoll Rooms 1 to 3 in Suntec.

“As announced on Monday, our town hall was to be held at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre, Nicoll Rooms 1-3. On Wednesday, we received an email from the corporate sales manager at Suntec that our booking had been cancelled ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’,” said the Ready4Repeal organisers.

The organisers have secured Singapore Management University’s (SMU) School of Law as the new venue for the event and said that preparations are “well underway”.

Responding to queries from Yahoo News Singapore, SMU said that the university is not hosting the “Ready4Repeal” event on Sunday, but had leased out its convention hall on a commercial basis.

“The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity, but we are heartened that we are able to proceed with the event as planned and we look forward to meeting with everyone this Sunday,” the organisers added.

When contacted, a Suntec staff said that the venue operator has no record of the event being planned or booked at its venue.

Suntec REIT has a 60.8 per cent stake in the Suntec property while City Harvest Church holds the remaining 39.2 per cent.

To attend the townhall discussion, also described as a “private event limited to individuals who have signed the Ready4Repeal petition”, each attendee is required to pre-register via ticketing website Eventbrite. Admission to the event is free.

Slightly over 1,000 tickets were available when the event was first opened for registration on Monday. About 77 tickets are left as of Friday afternoon. It is unclear if the number of tickets available has changed due to the change in venue.

According to the description of the event on the Eventbrite page, “IDs and event registration details will be checked at the door. A strict door policy will be enforced on the day.”

The townhall discussion will allow attendees to “hear outcomes from the Ready4Repeal petition, connect with experts and like-minded individual and learn about next steps and how you can be a part of the movement”, according to the page.

While there is no minimum age requirement for the event, foreigners are only permitted to attend the event as observers. Only Singapore citizens are permitted to speak on the panel or give speeches during the event, it added.

The Ready for Repeal petition, set up by various local LGBT groups, has garnered over 44,600 signatures signatories, including those of prominent businessman Ho Kwon Ping, veteran Singapore diplomat Professor Tommy Koh, and former Singapore Attorney-General Professor Walter Woon.

Sex between men remains illegal in Singapore under Section 377A although it is rarely enforced.

The signatures of the petition have been submitted to the Ministry of Law and Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday, according to its official Facebook page.

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