Joint Statement by Think Centre and Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign on Yong Vui Kong’s appeal verdict
April 5, 2011, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

The Think Centre and the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign find the verdict announced by Singapore’s Court of Appeal highly disappointing. We also find it daunting that the President of Singapore has no apparent right to decide against the advice of the Cabinet regarding the granting of clemency appeals.

There is no value in the state execution of Yong Vui Kong. The reason that there are still drug mules carrying drugs into our country proves that the Mandatory Death Penalty (MDP) has failed to serve as a deterrent. While drug mules are being hanged, the masterminds of such drug syndicates get away scot free.

The government of Singapore actively advocates for chances to be given to former convicts and to help them rejoin the society under the Yellow Ribbon Project.  We do not see how it cannot be extended to Vui Kong and the rest of the drug mules who are mostly marginalised youths who were led astray.

The Singapore government should listen to the call from its young citizens and the people in the world who are moving towards more humane ways to deal with non-violent crimes rather than imposing mandatory death penalty for drug mules.  The UN General Assembly has called on member states to establish a moratorium on executions as a step towards the abolition of the death penalty.  A total of 109 countries voted in favour of the resolution, while 35 countries voted against and 41 abstained. (UNGA 21 December 2010).

We call on the government to declare an immediate moratorium on all death sentences and to commute Yong Vui Kong’s sentence.

Contact Persons:
Sinapan Samydorai (Think Centre)

Rachel Zeng (SADPC)


Our president has no discretion when it comes to clemency appeals
April 5, 2011, 2:25 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng

I feel that we are being laughed at and ridiculed. All our lives we have been made to believe that the President as the head of the State, has the power to decide upon whether to grant clemency to death row convicts or otherwise. However the Court of Appeal confirmed otherwise.

The President cannot decide against the advise of the Cabinet, in other words, he has no discretion in matters related to clemency appeals.

I feel that I have been cheated all my life.

So the scenario changes and to simplify the situation, let me write it in simpler terms.

A person walks into a farm and selects a cow because his child requested for a cow. He then sends it to the slaughterhouse for slaughtering, but butcher suddenly feels a sense of sympathy for the cow and asked him to spare the animal. He, who holds the money to pay for the slaughtering, instead of making a decision, turns to his child, asking, “Should I say yes or no to the butcher’s request?” The child says no, the cow has to be slaughtered. And then he goes back to the butcher and demands that he kills the animal because your child says so. The butcher appeals, saying that he has the power to make the decision, and his reply is “That is not up to me to say. I cannot make a decision against my child.”