“At least we are safe”

May 16, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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16 May 2005

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I am sorry to hear of the plight the Shanmugams are about to face. I pray that they find their salvation. A number of people generally regard Singapore as a police state while others are quite passive about it. I have had a discussion with a few people and they practically came up with the same line…”at least we are safe”. How are we to question the system when a number of people are happy with it? Wouldnt leniency bring about a compromise in safety?

HARRY

SDP: Dear Harry,

Executing small-time drug peddlers like Mr Shanmugam does not and will not make Singapore and safer. If we want to really make Singapore safe, then the Singapore Government should go after drug kingpins like Burmese narco-trafficker, Lo Hsing han, who operates out of Burma. As long as people like Lo continue to be allowed to wreak their havoc, we can continue to hang people who smuggle small amounts of drugs out of economic desperation and we would not make an iota of difference. The drugs will continue to be produced and the big-time traffickers will continue to find individuals who are desperate and silly enough to be their mules.

But heres the irony. Instead of going after people like Lo, the PAP Government has been doing business with him, investing in projects that the Government refuses to tell Singaporeans. Whats wrong with this picture: The PAP hangs poor people who peddle drugs out of financial desperation while doing business with the real evil-doers like Lo Hsing Han.

In Mr Shanmugams case, he was convicted and executed for carrying marijuana, a drug that is smoked. The problem is that tobacco and nicotine found in cigarettes is also addictive and causes cancer, the number one killer in many societies. Why are we not hanging cigarette producers and people who sell them?

Hanging drug peddlers is a punishment that is completely disproportionate to the crime committed. A country is made safe when laws are tough. But there is a difference between being tough and being cruel. Taking a mans life for small-time drug peddling is cruelty.

For more information about the arguments against the death penalty for drug peddlers, please see Dr Chee Soon Juans speech on the death penalty on this website: http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/news_display.php?id=753