Sunday, May 26, 2019

No clemency for those under death sentences in Sing

FMT - Malaysians divided on Singapore minister’s stand on Putrajaya clemency plea (extracts)

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers and rights activists are at loggerheads over a Singapore minister’s remark that it is “untenable” to have a moratorium on Malaysians sentenced to death in Singapore courts for drug trafficking.

Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said Malaysian de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong’s appeal to exempt Malaysian Pannir Selvam Pranthaman from the death sentence showed he did not respect Singapore’s rule of law.

Commenting on this, criminal lawyer Rosal Azimin Ahmad said: “Such an act can be considered as an attempt to interfere with the process of law of another country. I disagree with (Liew’s) action.”

However, he told FMT an appeal on humanitarian grounds could still be made.

“Perhaps the minister can attach a written appeal from the family, which means the minister is acting on behalf of the family members for the consideration of the Singaporean government,” Rosal said.

But he noted it was not appropriate to ask another country to spare the death penalty imposed by its court as other people might use it as a precedent.

Lawyer Christina Teng, a staunch supporter of the death penalty, said Singapore was drug-free because the republic’s authorities were strict in upholding the rule of law and protecting the interest of the public.

The majority of Malaysians (unlike sweet naive compassionate kaytee) support the death penalty.

I can understand Muslims and fundamentalist Christians (Old Testament acolytes) in favour of capital punishment because their respective Almighty promotes (via their respective Holy Book) death for some serious and not-so-serious crimes.

But the strange finding of the survey has been that 65% of Chinese also support the death sentence, even though most of them are Buddhists.

While there exist death sentences in Buddhist countries like Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka [moratorium since 1976], [Khmer Republic abolished it in 1989 by Constitution], most maintain moratorium in implementing such a dastard penalty. De factor wise, there is no death penalty in most of these countries, although Thailand had 1 in 2018.

Wikipedia informs us:

Of the 43 independent countries in Asia that are UN member or observer states:
  • 26 (60%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
  • 6 (14%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 2 (5%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 9 (21%) have abolished it.

The information above is accurate as of 2017, when Mongolia abolished the death penalty, and does not include Taiwan, which is not currently a UN member; Taiwan practises the death penalty by shooting, and conducted one execution in 2016 and one in 2018.

Hong Kong and Macau are also listed below (they have abolished the death penalty), but they are not included in the figures above as they do not have UN membership separate from China.

In 2018, Asia had the world's 4 leading practitioners of capital punishment – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.

The most recent countries to abolish capital punishment in Asia are Timor-Leste (2002), Bhutan (2004), Philippines (2006), Kyrgyzstan (2007), Uzbekistan (2008), and Mongolia (2017).

Executions in 2018: Afghanistan (3), China (unknown number), Iran (285+), Iraq (43+), Japan (15), North Korea (2+), Pakistan (14+), Saudi Arabia (150+), Singapore (9), Syria (unknown number), Taiwan (1), Thailand (1), Vietnam (85), Yemen (5+).

Criminologists around the Western World have shown that threat of the death sentence does not deter drug pushers nor murderers.

Singapore statistics (via Wiki) for capital punishment over the last ten years show:


Don't think that there isn't any drug addicts on the Island. The above were only mules who were caught - just how many got through? Thus the reality undercuts Lawyer Christina Teng, a staunch supporter of the death penalty, [saying] Singapore was drug-free because the republic’s authorities were strict in upholding the rule of law and protecting the interest of the public. 

I'm afraid I have a more cynical opinion of Singapore's relentless merciless and actually pointless executions of mere mules (desperate for financial rewards), instead of going for the big-timers, to wit, the State doesn't want to be responsible for looking after those criminals under state incarceration for tens and tens of years.

I am somewhat surprised by Sing's Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in saying Malaysian de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong’s appeal to exempt Malaysian Pannir Selvam Pranthaman from the death sentence showed the latter did not respect Singapore’s rule of law.

That's nonsense. Liew made an appeal so how could an appeal be disrespect of Sing's laws? Unless Sing's Home Minister did not understand what an 'appeal' was?

But finally, sad to say, Sing will NOT entertain any clemency for those under death sentences in Singapore. The Island State wants to, just has to, show how tough it is.


  1. You either make it or you don't as a drug mule. Out of maybe 10, 1 will get caught while 9 will be rich for a short time. All drug mules when caught knows the death penalty but still take the chance. Why? The money must have been irresistible for most. Do they deserve death for greed or perhaps to settle their own or families monetary problems?

    What happens if drug mules caught are those forced to do so due to other reasons like they or their love ones being threatened, being sabotaged or innocently not knowing about the substance they are helping to carry along?

    Are the court trials and police investigations 100 % full proof to avoid such miscarriage of justice where such mistakes means taking an innocent life?

    Shouldn't it be fair that if such miscarriages of cases occur, The Judges, investigators, witnesses and the Lawmakers are also subjected to "An Eye for an Eye" principle of justice instead of just paying monetary compensation?

    Worst are religious laws where death penalties are dished out just because someone disbelieves, on sexual behavior or someone decides to issue a death sentence religious edit giving the reason of preserving the sanctity of their religion, God/Gods, Prophets etc.

    Those who support death penalties whether it is civil law or religious laws will never understand the 1% probability of taking away an innocent man/woman' s life.

    They will not understand until one day, they ended up as the 1% by accident or planned by someone else.

    So, what's so wrong with replacing death sentences whether civil laws or religious laws with lifelong imprisonment without parole as 1 innocent life lost due to a miscarriage of justice is good enough to justify over whatever justifications or principles of advocating for death sentences?

  2. Let's give credit where it is due...

    Despite the majority of Malaysians supporting the death penalty the new Harapan government has put in a moratorium on it and even spared the lives of the Vietnamese and Indonesian ladies who were "innocent" of the execution-style murder of the half-brother of the North Korean dictator.

    We should also have a serious discussion on the blatant cases of abortion, not out of necessity but simply because the babies were not wanted. Most religions consider conception as the beginning of human life so who will speak up for the murder of these voiceless innocent souls?

  3. Singapore's due process should continue to the end without interference.
    The penalties are well publicised, and as long as proper due process according to Singapore law has been carried out, the guilty must face the penalty under the law.

    Changi is one of the world's busiest aviation Mega-Hubs. Singapore has an imperative to prevent it from being made the main drug-smuggling hub. It may well be anyway, but as usual, Singapore is not going to take it lying down.

    The drug mules knew exactly what they were doing, the potential lucrative gains as well as the penalty if caught and found guilty.

    Typically, days or even weeks of planning would have gone into the act.

    The big-time drug king pins don't get caught in Singapore because they are too smart to actually step foot on inhospitable Singapore soil.

    In Myanmar, the Drug Lords work hand-in-glove with the military. In Thailand, the local authorities in the Golden Triangle are in their pocket. Even portions of the central government in Bangkok are suspect.

    Malaysia's PDRM anti-Narcotics bureau....those who know will tell you it is often impossible to differentiate between criminals and police. Same-same.
    Muhyiddin hasn't done anything about it.

    I respect and applaud Singapore's anti-drug efforts.
    They should continue without interference from other countries or parties.