Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has initiated a survey to gauge the attitudes of Singapore residents towards the death penalty.
The survey aims to provide the ministry with a comprehensive understanding of public sentiments on this controversial issue.
To carry out the survey – based on an extended invitation basis, MHA has commissioned Media Research Consultants Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Mediacorp, who will conduct the research between April 2023 and June 2023.
The findings of the survey will be reported in an aggregated form, ensuring individual responses remain confidential. As a token of appreciation, surveyed individuals will receive a $10 NTUC Fairprice voucher.
The decision to conduct this survey follows the recent execution of Tangaraju Suppiah, a 46-year-old Singaporean convicted and sentenced to death in October 2018 for abetting by conspiracy to traffic 1,017.9g of cannabis.
Tangaraju’s execution was the first in six months and the 12th since the previous year, marking a resumption of executions in Singapore in March 2022 after a hiatus of over two years.
Renowned British tycoon Richard Branson made headlines on Monday, April 24, when he urged Singapore to halt the imminent execution of Tangaraju Suppiah.
Branson, a member of the Geneva-based Global Commission on Drug Policy, claimed that Tangaraju may be innocent and argued that executing low-level participants in the drug trade does little to curb the global drug trade, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Responding to Branson’s statements, MHA issued a press statement rebutting his points and defending Singapore’s drug policies and the death penalty.
It emphasized that Singapore’s approach to the death penalty has been effective and based on the country’s experiences.
The ministry affirmed its commitment to charting its own path in the best interests of Singaporeans and requested that Branson respect their choices.
In an earlier response to Branson’s call for the Singapore government to directly engage Singaporeans on the death penalty, MHA highlighted that extensive engagement with the public on this matter had already occurred.
The government has had discussions on the death penalty with thousands of Singaporeans, according to MHA.
They cited studies indicating overwhelming support for the death penalty, with 74% of respondents favouring it for the most serious crimes. Additionally, more than 80% of participants agreed that it serves as a deterrent for crimes such as drug trafficking, firearms offenses, and murder, and 66% agreed that the mandatory death penalty is appropriate for those convicted of trafficking a significant quantity of drugs.
Given MHA’s immense trust that Singaporeans strongly support the use of the death penalty, why is MHA allocating public funds to engage the public further on their views regarding capital punishment?