Dear Law Minister

The only “signal” the State sends to anyone by maintaining and enforcing a mandatory death penalty is that killing people is justified as long as the purpose makes sense. In this case, the purpose is “sending the right signals to ‘drug barons’.”

Dude, “drug barons” do not care if their drug mules are hanged or let go after they’re caught.

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13 thoughts on “Dear Law Minister”

  1. I think he got the facts wrong. The signal is meant for the drug mules, not drug barons. (You need to excuse him. After all, he is also the one who said Singapore is not a Country)

    If we spare someone who is young and vulnerable, then another person who falls into that category will think that it is safe for him to traffic drug into Singapore.

    We do not know how many people changed their mind and decided not to traffic drug into Singapore because of the death penalty. Maybe a lot. Maybe a few. Maybe none. We don't know.

    But I do not mind having the death penalty in place just to serve as a deterrent.

  2. many people do not understand the implications of the death penalty, especially those who oppose it. it goes beyond 'revenge' or 'deterrence'.

    the severity of the death penalty is proportional to the severity of the crime and the cost to society it incurs.

    the death penalty works on the pretence that human life is sacred. therefore, an individual who commits a crime despite knowing that it is punishable by death, proves that he does not hold any regard to his own life, let alone the lives of others in society. society too cannot accept an individual who places no importance on human life.

    you can trivialise shanmugam's words but that does not undermine the enforcement of the death penalty.

  3. I agree that my comments do not undermine the enforcement of the death penalty.

    I wish it did though. because one the implications of maintaining the mandatory death penalty is that it justifies state-sanctioned homicide.

    Other justifiable homicides we know include killing in self-defence.

    But if we were to apply mandatory killing in the instance of self-defence, wouldn't the justification be just that little bit more tenuous?

  4. Say if one day somebody slips a packet of “tea leaves” into Shanmugam's luggage while he is travelling and he ends up with a mandatory death sentence hanging over his head let's see how he'll pitch this then.

  5. We should follow China and hand corrupt politicians as well. This will save the whole country. But then in Singapore we know so little about our politicians who are protected and paid to the hilt.

  6. To have an effective deterrent is to be prepared to exercise the maximum penalty or it serves as no deterrent at all. Sparing someone from the death penalty may appear to be a great reprieve but you might be mistaken in believing that loss of freedom would in any way be a free ride.

    While some form of restitution is acceptably expected of people who commit crimes, I hasten to remind everyone that restitution is impossible from the dead, and I am assured that death is very very permanent.

    But since you wouldn't mind having the death penalty in place just a deterrent, perhaps we should have the death penalty for ALL crimes against society. Nothing like the fear of death to make people think twice about commiting acts which might impact society in permanent ways, or potentially causing death right? I suggest we start implementation with the infringements involving the use of mobile phones while operating a vehicle. The potential for maiming or causing the death of another human being is certainly present. Or what about unhygenic food practices? We've seen plenty of examples of death resulting from poor food handling. Jaywalking? The death might be your own but it still removes a presumably productive member of society from fully contributing to the national economy. Smoking? Not only eventual death but also the expense of medical treatment and intervention…

    The death penalty may have been the only and last resort to policing a nation in more tumultuous times, but surely in this day and age, we have become a more enlightened species with greater imagination than to have to resort to acts as brutal and arcaic as this.

  7. Angie: There is a reason why certain crime carry heavier sentence than others. And I believe that the harm caused by drug trafficking deserved the heaviest sentence.

    The death penalty is not meant as a deterrent to the person receiving it. It is meant to be a deterrent to those who are planning to commit the same crime.

    Think about this, even with the death penalty in place, there are still people willing to risk their life and commit that crime. What if there is no death penalty? Would there be a rise in drug trafficking? We don't know. But what I do know is that removing the death penalty will not deter people from drug trafficking.

    So what is our priority? Human rights for drug traffickers? Or trying to deter drugs from coming to our shores? Personally, I prefer the latter. Not sure about you.

  8. I respect that you believe that drug trafficking to be a crime of most heinous proportions. But again I ask how you would differentiate it from any other crime which may result in death? And if the risk of death be the yardstick by which we measure the severity of the crime then shouldn't all crimes which endanger life be painted with the same brush?

    In response to your statement: “What if there is no death penalty? Would there be a rise in drug trafficking? We don't know. But what I do know is that removing the death penalty will not deter people from drug trafficking.” I can only repeat what _twasher_ has already posted in response to your initial comment: “the burden on proof is on those who claim it is effective to prove it.”

    So what is our priority, you ask? Perhaps that is where we differ fundamentally. I believe we must find a better way to fight the drug trade but first and foremost I believe in human rights for ALL humans.

  9. DK: While I appreciate the opportunity to air my views on the matter, I recognise that it is a volatile subject which has little chance resolution in this venue. Thus I will comment or debate no further in this thread and suggest that for the intents of this blog, we respectfully agree to disagree.

    Many thanks to Mr Miyagi for raising the issue for debate. Cheers.

  10. Laws in Singapore are predominently dominated by Indians. I am not a racists but in the years of observation, they are good in twisting and turning words henceforth, I have become a bit prejudice to these group of brahmins. My friends and I are cursing them and their f… philosophies of the high class niger chee b

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