‘Show proof capital punishment deters drug offences’

‘Show proof capital punishment deters drug offences’

PUCHONG: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today hurled brickbats on Singaporean Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam for saying it was untenable for the island republic to make exceptions for Malaysians convicted for death sentence in the country.

Earlier today, a Singaporean daily reported Shanmugam as saying that the government cannot make exceptions for Malaysians who have been sentenced to death for their offences in the country, as it would undermine the rule of law.

He also said that the death penalty is imposed in Singapore because evidence shows that it is an effective deterrent and claimed that Singaporeans are supportive of it.

“And we are not going to be deflected from doing the right thing for Singapore,” he was reported saying.

However, LFL adviser N Surendran poured scorn on Shanmugam for saying that death penalty is an effective deterrent against drug trafficking.

“Without any basis, Shanmugam claims death penalty deters drug trafficking. He gives no proof of this!

“All the studies show execution doesn’t deter traffickers. He then childishly suggests that Malaysia arrests the traffickers before they enter Singapore. Silly talk for a Cabinet minister,” he said via a series of tweets.

Surendran also challenged Shanmugam to show proof that majority of Singaporean supports death penalty, saying there is no freedom of expression practised in the island state.

“Shanmugam claims Singaporean people support the death penalty for drugs. How does he know I wonder?

“There’s barely any freedom of expression in Singapore. Faced with repressive laws, the timid Singaporeans dare not criticise their government. Malaysia is a beacon of freedom in comparison,” he said.

In June 2017, Malaysian born Pannir Selvan Pranthaman was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore, which carries the death penalty.

His family had sent many appeals against the sentence, including an appeal to Singapore President Halimah Yaacob but was unsuccessful.

However, the Singapore Court of Appeal yesterday granted a stay of execution for Pannir Selvam to enable the latter to challenge the clemency process.

By G Vinod