Government must ‘do right’ by Singaporeans by keeping death penalty: Shanmugam

Government must 'do right' by Singaporeans by keeping death penalty: Shanmugam

Addressing speak about  a “groundswell” against Singapore’s death penalty,   through activists, news reports and prominent people like British entrepreneur Richard Branson, Mister Shanmugam pointed to an anti-death penalty demonstration at Hong Lim Park in April.

Organisers said more than four hundred people turned up, but Mr Shanmugam believes  these numbers are often “exaggerated”.

“Now, therefore , if we believe that it is the best curiosity of society, Singapore, and if the vast majority of Singaporeans support it, as they do, then would you like us to change policy because four papers write about it, speaking with the same three active supporters and workers and quoting the same three activists? ” he asked.

“And I’m not really saying these are specific numbers, but I’m giving you the picture. So , the government plan, if 400 people plus three newspapers articles can change govt policy, or if Mr Richard Branson can change government policy, then Singapore would not be where it is today. ”

Mr Shanmugam furthermore touched on Thailand’s legalisation of marijuana and similar plans by Malaysia designed for medical marijuana, stating the increased availability of drugs will create more challenges for Singapore .

“But by and large, a vast majority of Singaporeans understand that drugs are usually bad, drugs are usually bad for society, ” he said upon Wednesday.

“There is a small team that thinks that it ought to be legalised. Also because of the portrayal in popular media, more youthful people, not the majority, they tend to have a somewhat different view of cannabis and these are all challenges we have to cope with. ”

Whenever asked if this means authorities will look into tighter regulations and “closer surveillance” of those coming in from countries like Thailand and Malaysia, Mr Shanmugam said Singapore’s regulations are “adequate”.

“But the laws, the amount, the kind of evidence that is needed, the particular assumptions or presumptions that apply, the inferences the courts can draw, these are technical matters, plus they are constantly reviewed, ” he said.

“And, you know, we have amended the law a number of times and we will change it as we discover necessary. ”


In the interview with Bloomberg, Mister Shanmugam was also asked about Singapore’s decision to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, and whether it is the first step to marriage equal rights.

Mr Shanmugam said the Government includes a duty to guide and understand the people’s wishes, stressing that it must be amending the Metabolism to make it clear that any debate on what a marriage is going to be held in Parliament and not through the legal courts.

The law currently defines marriage as between a man and also a woman, he stated, calling it a policy that the Government does not intend to change.

Religious groups have opposed the move to repeal Section 377A, with some expressing problems that they could be assaulted for their views against LGBTQ and marriage equality.

Mr Shanmugam said  individuals should be encouraged to express their viewpoints upon all sides, so long as it is not offensive and descend to dislike speech.

That is why the Government is concerned regarding cancel culture, not simply in the context associated with 377A but on a wide variety of issues, he or she said.

“The people’s freedom to express their views will be curtailed in real life, in the physical planet. We won’t enable five people to team up and beat you up. That’s against the law, ” he or she said.

“It seems to be possible and happens in a virtual sense, on the Internet. And need to find the right stability between free speech and aggressive assaulting of others to stop their free speech. ”

Mister Shanmugam said the federal government has been studying these types of questions for some time, and that it is something that might be put into legislation if the right solution is found.

“In reality, religious groups talk to us, but also LGBT groups have talked to us plus they are being attacked. Religious groups, in particular, feel very put upon, simply because they feel that whenever they convey their views, they may be attacked as homophobes, ” he stated.

“So, there is a line between articulating your view on religious beliefs, and becoming homophobic or engaging in dislike speech against LGBT groups. And we’ve got to agree on, you understand, these sorts of lines. So , we will have to include people from the various sectors, get their views. ”