SINGAPORE — Abolishing the death penalty will lead to more drugs being trafficked into Singapore, and hence more drug abusers and more families and individuals being harmed, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament on Thursday (3 March).
Citing the deterrent effect of the city-state's "strong stance" against drugs, the minister alluded to a 2018 study conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which found "a very high level of awareness" of the death penalty among convicted drug traffickers.
This in turn influenced their behaviour. For example, one of the traffickers in the study said that he trafficked below the threshold amount in order to avoid the possibility of execution.
It was a fair assumption, said Shanmugam, that removing the death penalty would lead to more drugs entering the country, calling it a "stark choice" for Singaporeans.
"Our approach to the death penalty works for us and continues to be relevant in our context. By being tough on drug offences, we minimise the harms of drugs on our society," said the minister.
Speaking during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate, the minister noted that the mandatory death penalty for trafficking more than 1,200g of opium was introduced in 1990. Comparing the four years before and after, there was a 66 per cent reduction in the average net weight trafficked.
It has also had a "clear, strong impact" on other criminal offences, said the minister.
For example, the death penalty for kidnapping was introduced in 1961. The three years before that saw an average of 29 cases per year, but in the three years after, the average became one case per year. The number of such cases has remained very low since.
Firearms robbery was also on the rise in the 1970s, with 174 cases In 1973. But with the introduction of the death penalty in November 1973 for firearms offences, such cases immediately fell by 39 per cent the following year, to 106 cases. It continued to decline in the subsequent years and remains rare today.
Shanmugam also noted that in the 1990s, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) arrested about 6,000 abusers per year. The figure has now fallen to about 3,000 to 3,500 abusers per year, which means a large number of potential abusers have been saved, he said.
"This is precisely the point: crime is kept low because the drugs abuse situation is kept low…if we change the laws, we cannot expect crime to remain unaffected."
Shanmugam also alluded to a regional study conducted by MHA in the places where most arrested drug traffickers arrested in the city-state have come from. The study aimed to get a sense of what people in these places knew and thought.
It was found that 82 per cent of respondents believed the death penalty makes people not want to commit serious crimes in Singapore. About 69 per cent also believed it is more effective in discouraging people from committing serious crimes, compared to life imprisonment.
In addition, 83 per cent believed that the threat of execution makes people not want to traffic substantial amounts of drugs into Singapore.
Shanmugam also noted that most Singapore residents support the use of the death penalty, and agree that it deters serious crimes.
A 2019 MHA survey showed "very strong support", while a follow-up survey was also done in 2021, with a segment on the mandatory death penalty. While the results are still being analysed, preliminary results for the latter show that there is also strong support for it.
A majority said it was appropriate as the punishment for intentional murder (81 per cent), firearm offences (71 per cent), and drug trafficking (66 per cent). More than 80 per cent also believed that the death penalty had deterred these offences in Singapore.
The minister added that results of the 2021 survey will be made public.
In response to those who advocate abolishing the death penalty as Singapore’s laws are already adequate, Shanmugam said, "We have never said that the death penalty alone is sufficient."
And while it is a key part of the arsenal in keeping the city-state relatively free from drugs, the minister pointed to other factors such as good intelligence, strong enforcement, stiff punishments and rehabilitation for offenders.
"Those who advise for removal often compare us with countries who have already lost the drug war. I am not sure if these people understand the consequences, or choose not to understand them."
He added, "We prefer not to have to impose the death penalty on anyone. But we have to continue to do what is best for us."
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore
Screenshot from Right Wing WatchAs the United States increasingly goes after some of the Kremlin’s business tentacles, the latest person arrested for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia is a former Fox News director who left to launch a Russian propaganda network.The Department of Justice on Thursday revealed that Jack Hanick was quietly arrested in London on Feb. 3 for dodging U.S. sanctions by helping a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Konstantin Malofeyev, start his right-wing Tsargrad TV.The
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday issued a dire appeal for help as Russia's attacks across the country intensified.
If you can even call it a dress.
Brown County JailWarning: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence.A 24-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of a man whose body parts were found strewn about a Green Bay property and vehicle last week.A person living at the home summoned police on Feb. 23 after discovering a severed head in a bucket, according to a criminal complaint obtained by local outlet WBAY. Officers arriving at the scene made their way down the basement stairs, finding the head still lying in a bla
People were polarized about the extra pickles.
"It was that sitting in the garage for a week type of trash," Jaime Harrison tweeted, later calling Boebert and Greene "juvenile delinquents."
Retired Gen. David Petraeus believes Russia President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is not a war he can win due to inadequate troop numbers and fierce Ukrainian resistance. "I don't think that this is a war, ultimately, that Russia and Vladimir Putin can win," Petraeus said Wednesday in an interview with CNN. "They can take a city perhaps, but they cannot hold it." Petraeus, a commander in U.S. insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, said…
The late-night host delivers a blunt lesson in free speech to the two "congressdemons."
More than a half dozen U.S. Secret Service officers on Thursday took two men into custody from a car in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood and removed what seemed to be an assault-style rifle from the vehicle, a Reuters witness said. The vehicle was a black four-door Ford sedan with Indiana plates that said Marine Corps Veteran. A Secret Service spokesperson told Reuters that the two individuals were "acting suspiciously" near the vehicle in the area of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Northwest, and were arrested for possession of illegal weapons.
There's one unsung group the Russian president "probably has to worry about," the former National Security Council analyst said.
This aircraft and its gun system were designed to counter an armored assault in Europe. They proved effective in Desert Storm’s target-rich environment, quite similar to the current advancing Russian force.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said Russia is demanding Ukraine demilitarize and will write a specific list of which weapons the nation cannot possess.Lavrov said in an interview with Al Jazeera that "specific types of strike weapons must be identified which will never be deployed in Ukraine and will not be created," according to a text of the interview reviewed by Reuters.The news comes amid a second round of talks between…
The move could come when Prince Charles becomes king.
Russian crypto investor Alex Konanykhin, who is based in California, told Insider the million-dollar bounty would come from his personal funds.
Paulina Gretzky and pro golfer Dustin Johnson have been engaged since August 2013
SOCHI, Russia — On Feb. 23, Razil Malikov, a tank driver in the Russian army, called his family and said he would be home soon; his unit’s military drills in Crimea were just about wrapping up. The next morning, Russia invaded Ukraine, and Malikov hasn’t been heard from since. On Monday, Ukraine published a video of a captured soldier in his unit, apologizing for taking part in the invasion. “He had no idea they could send him to Ukraine,” Malikov’s brother, Rashid Allaberganov, said in a phone
Singer Britney Spears just shared a series of totally naked photos on Instagram – and looks unreal as per. Whilst enjoying time on the beach in the nude, Brit..
The seized documents were posted on Facebook by Ukraine's Ministry of Defense and showed the war plans of Russian forces.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol tipped its hand on Wednesday in a U.S. federal district court filing in Orange County, California.
It might technically still be winter, but Bravolebs have been bringing the heat all season long. In January, The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice proved vacation fashion was her forte in a sultry cut-out tiger-print one-piece. Over in Miami, Larsa Pippen bared it all in a teeny tiny black Brazilian bikini. Just last week, The Real Housewives of Atlanta: Porsha's Family Matters cast member Porsha Williams made waves after she stunned in a denim two-piece while on vacation. And now,