Death penalty is a capital punishment. It is use in today context and ancient time to punish offender on a variety of offences. Death penalty consist of lethal injection, hanging from the neck, gassing and firing squad depending on which country. Death penalty still commonly practice in most of the Southeast Asia Countries for drug offences. (Jeraldine Phneah, 20/11/2013, para. 12)
In Singapore, death penalty is imposes only for the most serious offences that mainly on drug related offences, homicide, kidnapping offences and firearm offences. The courts will have the discretion to whether imposes a life imprisonment in less severe crime. The death penalty involves putting offender to death by hanging as stated in section 316 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Singapore.
Many of the Members of Parliament has suggested to abolish death penalty in Singapore and nominated MP Laurence Lien said that he believe that every single human life is precious and death penalty should not be executed to punish offender even if the law justify it unless it specifically to save another life, taking a life, for no matter how good an intention, is wrong. Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam said that with death penalty in place, if there is any mistakes or error revealed after an execution has done, it couldn’t be remedied as once a human life is being claim there is no way to revive. (The Straits Times, 13/11/2012, p. B5)
Singapore is a multicultural nation with many religions practice in Singapore. For Buddhism, Buddhist does not encourage death penalty as Buddhist highly regards the importance on non-violence and compassion for all life (BBC Religions, 23/11/2009, Buddhism). Islam as a whole accepts death penalty however forgiveness is still preferable (BBC Religions, 16/09/2009, Islam). Christian Churches believed that death penalty was necessary however in recent time, many Christians have against the death penalty as they argued that Christianity ought to support life (BBC Religions, 03/08/2009, Christians). Hinduism are likely similar to Buddhism as Hinduism do not in flavor of death penalty. Hinduism discourages killing, violence and revenge in line with the principle of ahimsa (avoidance of violence towards others). (BBC Religions, 25/08/2009, Hinduism)
In the recent debate in parliament, many Member of Parliament urged government to completely abolish the death penalty for all offences. For my stance, I will support for death penalty should be use in the most serious offences and offences that led to a lost of human life but the mandatory death penalty in the serious offences should abolished. I feel that death penalty should not be totally abolished from our justice system, as there will be no deterrence to anyone who is likely to commit the said serious offences in Singapore and cause the loss of the innocent human life.
As mentioned by DPM Teo that with the mandatory death penalty in place, the number of kidnapping offences and firearm offences in Singapore has drop dramatically over the time. From having 38 cases of kidnapping offences in the year 1959, the rate has drop to 1 case ever since death penalty was in place and the rate has continued to maintain low. For the firearm offences, the figure fell from 174 in 1973 to 97 in 1975 ever since death penalty in place and it has continued to maintain no case of firearm offences since 2007 (The Straits Times, 14/11/2012, Mandatory death penalty has worked to deter crime: DPM Teo). As mentioned by Law Minister K Shanmugam that Singapore has recorded 16 homicides in the year 2011 which is about 0.3 per 100 000 population (Channel Newsasia, 09/07/2012, Singapore completes review of mandatory death penalty). Also cited by Law Minister K Shanmugam, journalist Deepika Shetty said that any young woman can go out confidently during any time of the day and night so I feel that what make her said that is because of the good justice system in place and one of it will be the death penalty as it is playing a part to deter anyone to commit the serious offences (The Straits Times, 31/12/2012, p. A3). A statistic given by Ministry of Home Affairs shows that the number of drug abusers from 5857 in 1993 to 1785 in 2003 and number of first time drug abusers from 1293 in 1993 to 714 in 2003. This show that the deterrence has take effect over the years on drug traffickers which in turn led to lower number of drug abusers arrested (Ministry of Home Affairs, 24/07/2007, Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation)
In July 2012, Singapore has amended the death penalty for offences on drug and murder that give the judge the discretion on whether to imposes death penalty on the offender if the offender is convicted for drug traffickers who have mental disabilities or who only served as drug mules and cooperated with the Central Narcotics Bureau in a substantive way which lead to concrete outcomes and lacked the intention to kill. However, the mandatory death penalty will still be imposes on firearm offences, kidnapping offences, drug related offences and homicide if the abovementioned conditions fails to meet for drug related offences and homicide.
Nominated NP Laurence Lien said that every human life is precious and abolished death penalty in our criminal justice system so not to take away human life. I agree to the point that every human life is precious but if there is no death penalty in place and there will be no deterrence for the offender to commit the most serious offences. There is no correlation between the death penalty acts as deterrence against the most serious offences (The Straits Times, 13/11/2012, p. B5). Nominated NP Laurence Lien and Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam cited Hong Kong as their homicide rates has dropped after abolition of the death penalty in the year of 1993 (The Straits Times, 13/11/2012, p. B5). However, as mentioned by Law Minister K Shanmugam that Singapore has recorded 16 homicides in the year 2011 which is about 0.3 per 100 000 population (Channel Newsasia, 09/07/2012, Singapore completes review of mandatory death penalty). Although, there is no hard evidence suggest the correlation between death penalty acts as deterrence against the most serious offences but from the statistic given by Law Minister K Shanmugam that there are 16 recorded homicides rates so from my perspective, the death penalty did imposes a certain degree of deterrence for the offender to commit the most serious offences.
In conclusion, I feel that death penalty is somewhat has a certain degree of deterrence on offender to commit any of the most serious offences as the statistic given, show that number of the most serious offences has decline dramatically over the years. Singapore government is tackling on the drug offences by having drug rehabilitation programmes to provide treatment for drug abuser and aftercare support and employment opportunities for drug abuser. For e.g. is the halfway house, they provide employment opportunity for drug abuser and for them to continue their treatment and this will reduce the chance of drug abuser to become a drug trafficker. I still feel that the death sentence for the most serious offences should remain, but the mandatory death penalty should be abolished and give the discretion to the judge on whether to impose death penalty for any of the most serious offences committed.
BBC Religions. (2009). Buddhism. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/buddhistethics/capitalpunishment.shtml BBC Religions. (2009). Hinduism. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/hinduethics/capitalpunishment.shtml BBC Religions. (2009). Islam. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethics/capitalpunishment.shtml BBC Religions. (2009). Christians. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/christianethics/capitalpunishment_1.shtml Wikipedia. (2014). Capital Punishment in Singapore. Retrieved 22/03/2014 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Singapore#cite_note-10 The Diplomat. (2013). Singapore and the death penlty. Retrieved from http://thediplomat.com/2013/11/singapore-and-the-death-penalty/?allpages=yes The World Outline. (2013). Death and the city: the death penalty in Singapore. Retrieved from http://theworldoutline.com/2013/10/death-and-the-city-the-death-penalty-in-singapore/ Ministry of Home Affairs. (2007). Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation. Retrieved from http://www.mha.gov.sg/basic_content.aspx?pageid=74 The Straits Time. (2012). Mandatory death penalty has worked to deter crime: DPM Teo. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/mandatory-death-penalty-has-worked-deter-crime-dpm-teo-20121114 Studentry.sg. (2012). [Home Affairs] The Death Penalty: Pragmatic & Moral Considerations. Retrieved from http://studentry.sg/2012/09/12/the-death-penalty-pragmatic-moral-considerations/ Channel NewsAsia. (2012). Singapore completes review of mandatory death penalty. Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore-completes-review-of-mandatory-death-penalty/281494.html