Review the death penalty in Singapore

January 15, 2004
Singapore Democrats

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The Singapore Democrats are concerned, but not surprised, at the latest report by the Amnesty International that showed that Singapore has the highest execution rate in the world. The finding is only consistent with the blatant disregard and abuse of human rights by the PAP Government.

The death penalty, mandatory for certain crimes, raises questions of whether such a law is effective and constitutional. The data suggests that capital punishment may not be the most effective tool in deterring the crimes that it is designed to prevent.

The Democrats are particularly vexed about the fact that those in the lower strata of society are the most vulnerable to these executions. The factors that lead individuals to criminal activity are varied and complex including the lack of education, deprivation of opportunities to climb up the socioeconomic ladder, poverty, etc. The poor and weak in society are more disposed to criminal activity and therefore to the death penalty.

For example, there have been stories that drug barons force individuals who owe them money into carrying drugs into Singapore and then alert the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) to the presence of these individuals. While police attention is focused on these couriers, others who have not been tipped off, safely transport the drugs into the country. While the CNB gets credit for the bust, the hapless courier gets hanged and the drug lord laughs all the way to the bank.

There must be a review of the death penalty in Singapore. Without openness, an independent media, and free and fair elections, however, the PAP will continue to ignore voices that question capital punishment in this country.

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party