Singapore will gauge public attitudes towards the death penalty in a survey, the interior ministry said Wednesday, as human rights groups renewed calls for its abolition.
The city-state -- which staunchly maintains that capital punishment is a crime deterrent -- executed eight convicts last year, the highest number in a decade, according to official data. They had all committed drug offences.
The Straits Times said it was the first time that the MHA, which is in charge of the prisons department, is conducting a survey on the subject.
Last week's hanging in Singapore of convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Prabu N Pathmanathan sparked fresh calls to scrap the death penalty, a legacy of British colonial rule.
Neighbouring Malaysia, where the cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty, had asked Singapore to spare the 31-year-old convict on humanitarian grounds.
‘The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is conducting the survey to give us a better understanding of Singapore residents' attitudes towards the death penalty,’ MHA said in a statement to AFP.
It said the survey is part of the government's ‘regular research on our criminal justice system’ and involves citizens and permanent residents.
‘Participants were randomly selected based on age, race and gender, for a representative sample of the Singapore resident population,’ it added.
Some 2,000 respondents will be questioned between October and December by market research consultancy Blackbox Research, which the MHA has commissioned for the project, the newspaper said.
Human rights groups said the survey is unlikely to be a prelude to Singapore softening its position on capital punishment.
‘There's been no indication whatsoever that Singapore's position on use of the death penalty is softening,’ said Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia at Human Rights Watch.
‘One wonders whether the MHA is counting on a survey of public opinion to back their views and provide justification for their continued defiance of the international trend towards abolishing the death penalty,’ he told AFP.
Previously, the death penalty in Singapore was mandatory for crimes like drug trafficking and murder.
Following a review, legislation was passed in 2012 removing the mandatory provision for drug trafficking and murder under certain circumstances.Last updated: October 31 2018 01:47 PM
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Singapore's first Premier League footballer may face jail
Govt launches hunt for ‘foreign’ suicide bombers
‘Lack of workers’ delaying infrastructure development
Justice dept dares Ressa to register complaint
The art and science of Japan’s cherry blossom forecast
Smoke near Indonesia electoral debate was fireworks, say police
Philippine police urge residents to watch out for floating cocaine
Court orders Rappler to face trial over tax evasion
Kim Jong Un to arrive in Vietnam on Feb. 25 ahead of Trump summit