A Singapore government minister has condemned Goldman Sachs for holding an LGBT networking event in the country.
The global investment banking firm, which has a base in the country, caused outrage last month when it ran the dinner through its LGBT Network.
After a Singaporean newspaper condemned it as an “LGBT recruiting” event, government minister Chan Chun Sing spoke out against it.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development said: “SG is a largely conservative society.
“Singapore and Singaporeans will decide on the norms for our society. Foreign companies here should respect local culture and context.
“They are entitled to decide and articulate their human resource policies, but they should not venture into public advocacy for causes that sow discord amongst Singaporeans.
“Employment in SG is based on one’s merit and ability. Discrimination – be it positive or negative – whether based on race, language, religion, or sexual orientation is not aligned with our social ethos, and has no place in our society.”
“While different groups may express their different points of view, everyone should respect the sensitivities of others and not create division.”
A Goldman Sachs spokesperson told the BBC: “Our goal is to hire the best people we can find and to build diverse teams.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Singapore, and the penal code states: “Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.”
Goldman Sachs – along with Google, Barclays, J P Morgan – support the country’s annual Pink Dot pride event, which is due to be held on June 28 this year.
The company’s chairman previously admitted their pro-gay stance had cost them clients internationally.