13 Feb 2006

96% of Sporeans back death penalty

By Lydia Lim and Jeremy Au Yong
The Straits Times

Publication Date : 2006-02-12

Almost everyone here, both young and old and of every race and education level, supports the death penalty for heinous crimes, a survey shows.

Nine in 10 also want the hard line to be taken against any foreigner who commits a crime that carries the death penalty. He should not be spared even if his country does not give the death sentence for the crime, they said in a Sunday Times survey.

Their responses are significant because the survey was carried out three weeks after Singapore hanged Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van amid widespread protests in Australia.

The Home Affairs Ministry said that 35 people have been hanged over the last three years, most of them for drug trafficking.

The survey, done between Dec 23 and 28, also debunks notions that the younger or more educated would be less supportive of the death penalty.

On the contrary, it shows a graduate in his 20s is as likely to back capital punishment as someone in his 50s with below secondary education.

The survey of 425 Singaporeans and permanent residents, aged 20 and older, shows 96 per cent support the death penalty. Most also want it to remain mandatory for the crimes of murder, drug trafficking and the use of firearms.

The majority also want to keep the death sentence as the maximum penalty for acts of treason and kidnapping.

More than two-thirds want the death penalty introduced as the maximum sentence for those who plan or carry out terrorist attacks.

These people, who were interviewed face-to-face at their homes, believe the death penalty is effective in three ways:

-It deters others from committing the same crimes;

-Keeps the country safe and crime-free; and

-Is just punishment for those who carry out heinous acts.

And the majority want Singapore to stand its ground on this issue, regardless of what other countries do.

Almost three quarters say Singapore should not review its stand even if more countries do away with the death penalty.

The younger people are far more open to a review if circumstances change, according to the poll done by the marketing planning and development (research) department of Singapore Press Holdings.

About half of those aged 20 to 29 want a review if more people here oppose the death penalty, compared to one third among the fortysomethings and one quarter among those aged 50 and over.

If more countries decide to abolish capital punishment, 44 per cent of the twentysomethings think Singapore should review its stand but only 22 per cent of people older than 40 would agree to it.

Law professor Michael Hor said the timing of the survey could have contributed to the extremely high levels of support for the death penalty.

"Studies elsewhere have shown, for example, that if death penalty polls are carried out soon after a sensational and well-publicised murder, the approval rates are likely to be significantly higher," he said.

The 15 people in the poll who oppose the death penalty do so for three main reasons:

-They believe people deserve a chance to repent;

-They worry that innocent people could be executed; and

-Other countries have done away with the death penalty.

Entrepreneur Jane Ang, 35, counts herself among this small minority.

"I believe in the sanctity of life. I don't think you can put a price on any person's life, no matter what they've done," she said.

Criminal lawyer Shashi Nathan, a founding member of the Association of Criminal Lawyers in Singapore, said he cannot see how the death penalty deters murders.

"Most murders, I would say 90 per cent, are crimes of passion. In the heat of the moment, you just don't think about what the penalty for your crime is," he said.

But he does acknowledge that the death penalty may act as a deterrent "to some extent for drug trafficking".

Sinapan Samydorai, president of civil rights group Think Centre, puts the overwhelming support for the death penalty to an "overall lack of human rights understanding".

"People think if you kill one to protect many, it then becomes justifiable without considering whether killing the person is morally right or wrong."

In its response to the survey findings, the Ministry of Home Affairs said Singapore does not mete out the death penalty lightly and imposes it only for the most serious of crimes.

The number hanged each year fell from 19 in 2003 to eight last year.

The ministry said: "We weigh the rights of offenders against the rights of victims and the rights of the community to live and work in safety and security." The death penalty, it added, deters would-be offenders and has contributed to making Singapore "one of the safest places in the world".


Anonymous said...

Killing other human beings has never made me feel safe. I hail from a country that invented and perfected hanging. luckily we had a free press so we all got hear about the famous few who were hanged by "accident".

No one is ever hanged by accident in Singapore are they? The policemen are too busy trying to arrest schoolgirls for selling T shirts.

Carry on hanging people if it makes you feel safe. It doesn't of course.


Anonymous said...

The poll seems to be skewed. It is a straw poll. I really doubt that only 4 out of 100 Singaporeans oppose death penalty. It is simply unbelievable.

Anonymous said...


akikonomu said...

1. No mention of the margin of error for survey.
2. No mention of whether the sample was a representative sample
3. Studies elsewhere have shown, for example, that if death penalty polls are carried out soon after a sensational and well-publicised murder, the approval rates are likely to be significantly higher

Conclusion: Yet another typical ST survey. These guys have zero credibility.

Anonymous said...

It was mentioned that only 400+ people were interviewed, yet the headlines screamed "96% OF SINGAPOREANS SUPPORT THE DEATH PENALTY". Supremely misleading, unless people actually bothered to read the entire article. People hafta read the ST with a large pinch of salt - it is the mouthpiece of the PAP after all.

clyde said...

I think Akikonomu hit the nail on the head pretty much with that one. 425 is a pathetically incompetent survey number for a population of over 4 million people. That's barely representative considering it's barely even 0.01% of the population. I've seen blog polls with higher numbers than that...

I will agree however that the figures are likely to be biased after a case like the hanging of Nguyen. But "96% of All Singaporeans" sounds like quite sensational news, don't it..

Anonymous said...

In addition to the above points raised, what kind of questionnaire is being adopted - open or closed? Can quantitative method like survey be used to accurately measure attitudes, which is a qualitative issue?

I believe this is merely a so-called justification to "console" and to "convince" oneself that what is being done is correct and justified. Well, what is more important is one's conscious must be clear one.

Anonymous said...

should be read as "conscience"

sglaksa said...

A normal survey requires 300 people. 425 is just right. The jokers up there probably oppose the death penalty. The survey proves that Singaporeans support the death penalty and it won't be abolished no matter how much noise the minority makes.

rench00 said...

hmm... you would be surprised... i have, because of something else that i am involved in, engaged a professional research company to do a survey that is supposed to be representative of the Singaporean population. and it turns out that 530 respondents are all that is needed for the survey to be representative. i am not sure of the exact statistical mathematics involved, but i think i trust that company.

however, having said that, it is true that one should question whether the ST survey is indeed representative, not in terms of the number of participants, but the profile of participants in the study, the age groups, whether it is weighted, and if so, how, the format, the questions, etc.

it is interesting how even the results of a scientifically and mathematically rigorous survey can be manipulated to achieve certain causes...

that aside, if indeed most people in Singapore back the death penalty, then what? does that mean that we should keep the death penalty? or do away with it?

Anonymous said...

"A normal survey requires 300 people. 425 is just right."

I don't think an absolute figure of such and such number is a norm but rather it should be capable of measuring and representing the overall population of the country.

Secondly, as what Sinapan Samydorai has pointed out, the population presently has an "overall lack of human rights understanding". This is indeed an important factor.

Thirdly, it is also important to employ the correct concepts and indicators in such a survey.

akikonomu said...

It turns out that 530 respondents are all that is needed for the survey to be representative. I am not sure of the exact statistical mathematics involved, but i think i trust that company.

Central limit theorem, supposedly.

You forgot to add - the 530 respondents still have to be chosen RANDOMLY.

Did ST tell how it constructed its sampling frame?

Anonymous said...

Death Penalty without an UNFAIR TRIAL is murder!

And in Singapore, anyone caught with drug exceeding that weight will be hanged...regardless of whether the convict was framed by someone or innocent.

The fact that he got drug with him landed him the death sentence.

This is UNFAIR. And many Singaporeans just view things on the surface...thinking that death penalty will deter crimes, without considering the fact that Singapore's unfair trial had bring many innocent people to death. A

And Singaporeans fail to consider the fact that human aren't ROBOTS, we will murder someone out of anger etc...people won't weight the pros and cons before they commit their crimes.

“Is he still maintaining that an innocent man can be
hanged because of procedure?”
“Yes, the answer is yes.”

Below is an example of a death penalty case in Singapore detailing exposing the inadequacies of police investigations, courtroom trials and the clemency pleas that prefers to err on the side of
hanging convicts.

Executed after an unfair trial: Vignes s/o Mourthi(25)
from Malaysia

Vignes s/o Mourthi, a 23-year-old Malaysian national, grew up in a poor family and received only basic
education. He was arrested while carrying a plastic bag containing approximately 27 grams of heroin. At
his trial he stated that he had been asked by an old family friend, Moorthy A/L Angappan, to carry the bag
from Malaysia to Singapore, where he travelled everyday for work. He insisted he was unaware of the bag’s

Anonymous said...

Singapore proudly say it has "humanised" the hanging
process - weighing the condemned and carefully
calibrating bodyweight with a "drop" system so as to
deliver a swift, clean kill when the platform gives

Ravi says Malaysian drug addict Vignes s/o Mourthi
wasn't so lucky. When he was hanged at Changi in
September 2003, Ravi says, his head was nearly torn
off by the force of the 500kg-plus drop, about seven
times his bodyweight. "They got it horribly wrong,"
Ravi says, "his mother was screaming, screaming ...
there was so much blood in the coffin, it was

By 1pm, the family - delayed coming in from Malaysia -
hadn't yet collected the corpse so Singapore summoned
the state cremator to dispose of it. The family got
there by 2pm and Ravi was called from chambers to have
a most unseemly brawl over Vignes s/o Mourthi'
bloodied corpse with the contracted cremator, who was
banking on a nice little earner. In the end, Ravi and
Vignes s/o Mourthi' family prevailed, "but with no
help from the government".

Singapore: Calls for immediate moratorium on the death
penalty -


the Bulletin
In Cold Blood

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness, CSJ is barred from the elections. If he is allowed to run, he will get only 4% of the votes, given he has spent all his time campaigning against death penalty.....oh what a loser!

Anonymous said...

Somehow, the "96% back death penalty" headline just screamed propaganda back to me. It's the Straits Times, right? The number is just so incredulous.

Anonymous said...

LSL in his speech at NUS last night said they do make mistakes. So, they can make mistakes and are expected to be excused. However, when opposition make mistakes, they are charged and are sued till bankrupt. Is this justified? BIG BULLIES!

Anonymous said...

If a survey is conducted by
the govt mouthpiece ST or other
of its media, we know whats the
results is going to be.

clyde said...

There is no such thing as a number that is "just right" when doing a statistical survey. There is only an increase in probability that the sample is representative with more people being surveyed. To quote a 100% confidence level in your findings would be a fundamental flaw in any statistic. To quote "96%" without mention of all the criticism and margin of errors can only be ambiguous at best. You might as well draw a number out of a hat that's easy for the public to swallow instead of wasting taxpayers' money just to churn out a figure that will make the government feel more comfortable and self-assured they're doing the right thing.

But no matter what factors we bring up to discuss such as central limit theorem, random selection and other mathematical speak, I think we can say realistically that no newspaper in any country is going to quote every detail of their survey methodology. Which is why I'm always skeptical of any statistic I see printed on a news headline. It's worth less than whatever $1 burger Mcdonalds is selling these days...

akikonomu said...

Realistically, we do expect the ST polling wing to release a full report to the public on its own website/publication.

rench00 said...

CLT! that's what it's bloody called! i learnt that! obviouly i've returned that to my teacher liao.

but yes. it's always a confidence level thing. and yes. it has to be randomly drawn.

but can we still not draw any interesting conclusions? perhaps not from pure statistical analysis. how about anecdotal experience? i have found that most people i know are indeed supportive of the death penalty. some are ambivalent.

that however, does not make it right or wrong. the question is, without the death penalty, would Singapore be as safe?

now, one could quote statistics of another sort, saying that there is no statistical correlation between death penalty and drop in crime rate. but i would point out that it makes no sense to do a statistical analysis of that sort anyways. simply not scientifically rigorous. the only way to find out for sure whether death penalty works is to have 2 societies which are identical in every ways except for the existence of death penalty (i.e. one has, the other one doesn't). then see what happens in these 2 societies. then we can be sure that whatever difference is due to the existence (or lack thereof) of the death penalty.

can that be done? probably not. at best an approximation. perhaps compare HK to Singapore. fair comparison? or perhaps there is more to the whole death penalty debate than just keeping crime rates down. perhaps it is a "give the people what they want so i'll get re-elected" kind of thing?

akikonomu said...

the question is, without the death penalty, would Singapore be as safe?

I'm sure the ST poll framed the questions to produce socially responsible answers from its participants.

the only way to find out for sure whether death penalty works is to have 2 societies which are identical in every ways except for the existence of death penalty

It's been done before. See yawningbread.

Anonymous said...

Absurd!!! Unless Singapore is such a robotic and insensitive society.

Anonymous said...

Hope you can post this on the mainwebsite:

Agence France Presse -- English
January 18, 2006 Wednesday 4:58 AM GMT
1571 words

ASIAN LIVES: Singapore's veteran opposition leader still fighting at 80
SINGAPORE, Jan 18 2006

He has just turned 80 and could be living in comfortable retirement after his former career as a successful Singapore lawyer.

Instead, Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam finds himself itching to take on Lee Kuan Yew's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) once more.

In a society where the opposition plays only a marginal role, its leaders hounded by lawsuits and their activities curbed by strict laws against protest rallies, Jeyaretnam has been one of a rare few to take on the PAP and Lee, the founding father who ruled the Southeast Asian city-state with an iron hand for three decades until 1990.

For that, Jeyaretnam has paid dearly.

Jeyaretnam has been embroiled in several lawsuits filed by ruling party members and had to sell his house to pay defamation charges of more than 923,000 US dollars.

Home for him now is a low-rent hotel but JBJ, as he is known among his supporters, has no intention of checking out of the political scene any time soon.

"Oh yes, I have lost a lot but that does not worry me. I've been taught to believe that you don't live a life just for yourself. You've got to live a life for others," says Jeyaretnam, whose grey lamb-chop sideburns evoke a bygone era.

"If there is a need, you've got to do something about that need. For me the need is to bring some dignity into the lives of Singaporeans," he says, referring to what he sees as the plight of the poor and forgotten low-income workers unable to keep up in Southeast Asia's wealthiest economy.

He still owes about 369,000 US dollars in debts stemming from the lawsuits and unless the debts are cleared, he will remain bankrupt and ineligible to run for public office.

Still, he remains defiantly hopeful that he will be able to clear the bankruptcy in time to stand in the next elections, which must be held by June 2007.

"Well, people might think it's impossible but I am a born optimist," he says.

"I am hoping very much to have the money, the whole sum to throw at them ... There are people who are prepared to help me but don't ask me to tell you who they are... there's the fear," he says, his voice rising in a reference to what he describes as Singapore's stifling political and social climate.

-- 'This system has to come down' --

In 1981, Jeyaretnam made political history when he became the first opposition politician to be elected MP, winning almost 52 percent of the vote in his constituency.

Then secretary general of the Workers' Party, he broke the PAP's monopoly in parliament, which had stood since the city-state became independent in 1965.

Jeyaretnam is lost in thought for a moment, then smiles as he thinks back to the announcement of the results: "It was almost unbelievable but we did it."

In 1984 he was re-elected with a bigger majority but the triumph was short-lived. Two years later he was forced to give up his parliamentary seat after being fined and sentenced to one-month's jail following lawsuits filed by political foes from the PAP.

Human rights groups have criticised the Singapore government for using libel laws as a tool to silence critics, but Lee and other PAP leaders dismiss such allegations, saying they have to protect their reputations.

Jeyaretnam says he bears no animosity towards Lee, who remains a powerful figure as a senior adviser in the government headed by his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"This might sound holier-than-thou but that's my (Christian) teachings. You should love your enemies," he says.

According to Jeyaretnam, the PAP wants to keep him out of parliament because he dared to challenge Lee's economic and social system, one which favors minimal welfare benefits.

"I am the only one who has been challenging the fundamentals of the society," says Jeyaretnam, who in 2003 received the first human rights award from local civil rights group, the Think Centre.

"He's a man of principles who's been trying to bring justice," Think Centre president Sinapan Samydorai said at the time.

"When I got elected into parliament in 1981, shortly afterwards I said this system has to come down," Jeyaretnam recalls.

"That's why they are afraid that I am there to destroy their system, to bring it down because that system is the system that's keeping our people in bondage economically and in other things that matter in life, liberty, freedom."

Lee, who denies oppressing the opposition, says Jeyaretnam "was all sound and fury."

He writes in his autobiography, "From Third World To First", that Jeyaretnam was useful as "a sparring partner" for new members of parliament and "probably kept better men out" of the opposition.

"His weakness was his sloppiness," Lee says. "He rambled on and on, his speeches apparently unprepared. When challenged on the detailed facts, he crumbled."

-- 'So many things wrong about Singapore' --

A former British colony with few natural resources save for its strategic, natural disaster-free location, Singapore now ranks as one of the richest societies in Asia with a per capita gross national income of 25,543 US dollars, thanks largely to shrewd economic planning by Lee and his PAP.

Singapore's container port is among the busiest in the world, Changi Airport is consistently voted one of the best by global travellers and the city-state boasts foreign reserves of almost 120 billion US dollars, one of the largest amounts held by any country.

"You see the buildings, the roads, and you say how wonderful Singapore is. But it isn't ... when I meet the lowly-paid people they tell me how difficult life is for them," Jeyaretnam says.

"I am concerned with the people who haven't been able to make it and they are being neglected by this system. There are so many things that are wrong about Singapore."

The PAP government, which has 82 of the 84 elected seats in parliament, provides subsidies and rebates in areas like utilities for lower-income families, but these are not sufficient "so that they can live their lives in dignity," Jeyaretnam contends.

"Don't tell me that Singapore doesn't have the money. Singapore does have the money but it's a question of priorities."

Born during a family visit to Jaffna in British-ruled Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, Jeyaretnam grew up in Malaya, another British territory where he says he and his three siblings enjoyed a lower middle-class upbringing. His father worked in Johor Bahru, just across from Singapore, as a clerk in the public works department.

But Jeyaretnam, dressed in a golf-style shirt with dark pinstriped pants and black shoes, says he was upset even as a student "by the inequalities in society and the discrimination which made an impact."

His affinity for the less privileged and poor grew when, as a law student in London, he witnessed how Britain's Labour Party government, led by Clement Attlee, sought to reduce the wealth gap.

"That was the great liberation of the underprivileged and the lowly-paid people," says Jeyaretnam, a history buff who also enjoys the music of Handel and Chopin.

-- 'I am quite happy' --

His typical day starts at 9:00 am in the cramped office which he rents for 246 US dollars a month. It is a five-minute walk from the Oxford Hotel where he lives, with a framed photograph of his late wife Margaret beside his bed.

The office barely has enough room for his desk and a table where Wendy, his secretary for more than 40 years, works at a computer.

Singapore opposition figures complain about lack of access to the mainstream media, so it is from this small workspace that Jeyaretnam faxes journalists his frequent criticisms of the PAP and its policies.

By 11:30 am, he is on the road to hawk his latest self-penned book, "The Hatchet Man of Singapore," an account of court battles with his political foes.

Accompanied by longtime ally Ng Teck Siong, 65, who has retired from his printing business, he sets off in a cab. The driver recognizes him and turns in his seat to shake Jeyaretnam's hand, and express sympathy for his battles with the courts.

"It's an unfair country," the driver says, declining to be identified. "You talk, they will throw you in prison."

Local human rights lawyer M. Ravi put it this way recently: "We are just so much paralyzed with fear it's unbelievable."

But Jeyaretnam is not.

At their destination outside a subway station, he and Ng set up beside a woman selling pro-government mainstream newspapers, and across from a ponytailed lottery vendor.

"The Hatchet Man of Singapore!" Jeyaretnam calls, holding the book in front of him.

Within minutes, a copy is sold.

It costs 12 US dollars and Jeyaretnam, fiercely proud of his independence, says the 15 copies he sells on an average day are just enough to cover his living expenses without having to rely on his son, Philip, a highly respected lawyer and the current president of the Law Society of Singapore.

Another son, Kenneth, is an economist living in London.

His wife, Margaret, succumbed to breast cancer in 1980 and never got the chance to witness his by-election victories.

"She contracted cancer and then stress is the last thing you need when you are suffering from cancer, but she never for a moment suggested that I should give up politics," he says.

Despite all that he has suffered, Jeyaretnam says he is a happy man determined to continue fighting for Singapore's less well-to-do -- even if others see him as past his political prime.

"I get my strength from somewhere else, if you know what I mean.

"One of the things they have said about me is that I am a non-conformist. I refuse to conform to the world."


LOAD-DATE: January 19, 2006

Anonymous said...

nothing surprising here.

singapore surveys are always made up or rigged anyway. like those on our economy imorving and being optimistic about job creation?
big joke created by those clowns in PAP.

antipathy said...

instead of pointing that the straits times survey is skewed, why don't you realize that maybe just maybe, the majority of singapore disagrees with you?

Are we so intolerent we are unable to see that people can actually have differences in opinion? Then one is no different from the monster one is trying to fight.

clyde said...

Well antipathy, we never said the survey was wrong. We said it COULD be wrong. But more precisely, we are saying the survey could be inaccurate. If all Singaporeans were surveyed to produce a figure of say 70%, that is still a big difference from 96% even though the general conclusion would still be that majority of S'poreans support the death penalty. And such a difference DOES make a difference when the figure is used for publicity purposes.

Personally, I wouldnt be surprised if majority did support the death penalty. It does boil down to a general lack of understanding for human rights.

clyde said...

Anonymous, can you provide a link to the source of that article you posted? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is from Agence French Press...The Newswire..You know like Reuters and Deutche Press

antipathy said...

clyde, maybe you didn't say the survey is wrong or a lie, but the guy who posted above me did (anonymous)
quoting him "singapore surveys are always made up or rigged anyway".

70% is a very large majority btw.
Ok, what i am going to assume now is that straits times did not lie, maybe twisting the truth by leaving out certain facts about their survey, so we can take what little we know to paint a picture.

"Almost everyone here, both young and old and of every race and education level, supports the death penalty for heinous crimes, a survey shows."
- The survey cuts across age and education level. IT maybe leaves out racial and class differences, is that important?

425 out of 4 million people. In USA they use 1013 people for 300 million for a confidence level of around +-4%. My guess is that the margin of error for this survey if it does cut across the cross-section as they imply, has a smaller margin of error.

Now however why does it seem so skewed?
LEt us read the line
"The survey of 425 Singaporeans and permanent residents, aged 20 and older, shows 96 per cent support the death penalty. Most also want it to remain mandatory for the crimes of murder, drug trafficking and the use of firearms."

_-- what does it mean? Now it means 96% of the population support the death penalty. Right now the death penalty is for crimes involving firearms, murder, treason, kidnapping and drug trafficking. 96% support the death penalty for any one of the five examples of crimes.

For example i might support the death penalty for murder and not the rest, and i would be among the 96%.
Now with this understanding read the second line.
"Most also want it to remain mandatory for the crimes of murder, drug trafficking and the use of firearms"
---HAHA, ambiguous. actually not that ambiguous. MOST meaning more than 51%, want death penalty for for the crimes of murder, drug trafficking and firearms. Notice the word OR is not used. it means they combined total of these three categories >51%.

"More than two-thirds want the death penalty introduced as the maximum sentence for those who plan or carry out terrorist attacks."
-- I post this as i found this interesting. Naturally, I might be wrong here, but terrorist attacks, to me, sound like an extremely serious if not the most serious crime that can be perpertrated against society. BUt a full 33% do not want the death penalty for them?
So there must be some people who would rather see a guy get hanged for firing a gun into the air, and not wish to see a person who crashes a bomb-laden truck into suntec city get off with life in prison(assuming he survives)?

Now if you read on, you can actually nitpick these various interesting points from journalistic writing in Singapore, but I am too tired to continue posting. So instead of saying that surveys are always skewed, ponder the fact that numbers are rarely false, it is the presentation that can lead to misunderstanding.

soci said...

I am currently trying to get the email addresses of Lydia Lim and Jeremy Au Yong in order to track down the researchers who carried out this piece of research. If you are, or know of Lydia Lim and Jeremy Au Yong could you email the addresses to me. stevenmcdermott[at]gmail.com.

The reason I am trying to get in touch is that I am hoping to track down the data set, questionnaire, interviewer instructions, response-non-response rate, weighting used, sample choice, coding used etc. I am interested in assessing the relative differences rather than the stand alone figures of '96%', '15 out of 425', because in social research we have few absolute measures but relative differences are well worth having if they have consistancy. In particular 44% of 20-29 year olds would agree to abolish the death penalty if more countries abolished it, so would 22% of those aged 40 plus. However the overall figure and in particular the figure for those aged between 30-39 are not listed. I am interested in testing if their is an intergenerational shift in attitudes?

Realist67 said...

On the day you die and go to heaven, St Peter comes to decide WHETHER OR NOT to let you in at the Pearly Gates:

He asks you, "So what will it be my son [or daughter], MERCY or JUSTICE?...

I don't expect anyone to ask for "justice" in such a situation. Maybe Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul, etc.

But if your answer is "mercy," why, then, do you deny it to offenders?

Other options:

Life imprisonment without chance of release. (Hopefully he/she can repent and help someone see the error of his ways?]

Also, please consider that human error can and does occur in homicide cases. The police are under pressure. People try to frame someone else to take the blame etc. If you don't kill someone, there's always a chance that new evidence will surface to prove that he or she is innocent, in which case justice can be done.

I used to work in the Straits Times: If you haven't figured it out already, 90 per cent of what you read in it should NOT be trusted.

Mr Wang Says So said...

People, people.

I am not at all surprised that 96% of Singaporeans support the death penalty. Ok, the study will have flaws etc but really, why are we surprised that the large majority of Singaporeans support the death penalty?

Most Singaporeans do not think very deeply about such issues. They will tend to believe and accept whatever the government chooses to do.

In certain areas, we are just very backward as a society. We haven't progressed. That is all. You want figures - I'll give you figures. In 1977, 16 countries in the world had abolished death penalty for ALL crimes. Today that figure has increased more than five times - 86 countries have completely abolished the death penalty.

Singapore just happens to belong to that category of backward countries that haven't progressed in this respect.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, LHL, in his budget speech, claims sg is an "open and progressive country".