1 Dec 2005

A slight chink Singapore's armour

By Connie Levett, Singapore
December 2, 2005

Today's execution of Nguyen Tuong Van has forced the mandatory death penalty onto the agenda in Singapore, with the local media unable to ignore the political lobbying, threatened trade boycotts and heated public debate in Australia.

In a rare break with the government line, the broadsheet Straits Times newspaper ran an article reassessing the mandatory death penalty, despite continuing government statements that it is essential to protect citizens from the scourge of drugs and deter drug syndicates basing themselves in Singapore.

"Perhaps in the months ahead, when emotions have died down, the mandatory death penalty - meaning its case-by-case, crime-by-crime application - should be reassessed by lawyers, officials and citizens alike," political reporter Ken Kwek wrote in an analysis piece. "If that happens, we should all focus on the specific - how the mandatory death penalty might be removed for certain crimes - rather than fall for the broadbrush rhetoric calling for its complete and unconditional abolition," the article said.

A long-time resident of Singapore, who asked not to be named, said "it shows in Singapore, within the established media, there are some misgivings about this medieval form of punishment. I wouldn't see it as a signal from the government, more a signal from the intelligentsia."

Yesterday's Straits Times devoted two pages to the story, picking up the letter by Singapore's High Commissioner to Australia, Joseph Koh, justifying the rejection of clemency.

The increased coverage reflects Singapore's awareness that the region is closely watching its actions.

- with STEVE BUTCHER

2 comments:

Hemant said...

Good to see voice coming outof the country!

Think Singaporean said...

"It's a law which is approved of by Singapore's inhabitants and which allows us to reduce the drug problem" PM LSL said.

No, this law has been imposed by the sg govt itself without the consensus from its citizens.

"it shows in Singapore, within the established media, there are some misgivings about this medieval form of punishment. I wouldn't see it as a signal from the government, more a signal from the intelligentsia"

Yes, I strongly believe alot of the Singaporeans are not that "heartless" people.
It's time that sg govt should address this issue with URGENCY in order to avoid more "killings".

Suggest that a proper survey (not a poll) be carried out to know exactly what are the views from the sg inhibitants themselves.

As for those who are in favour of such law, please be reminded that one day you may be a victim yourself - for eg, someone could plant some drugs in your bag. Till then, you'll become an object of compassion. And in such time, would you truly wish that there is no such law at all?

In addition, you can also imagine that one day you may be the "lucky one" to be reprimanded by the sg govt to go to fight in a war and you never know whether once you go, would you ever come back again to meet your loved ones. In such circumstance, similarly, would you then ever think how precious your life is - not only to you but also to your family members?

If the aforesaid analyses still couldn't shake you up, then you shall not blame others but only yourself because you have chosen to leave your fate in the hands of the mandatory law.