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Commentary: Death penalty for drug trafficking should stay, but certain aspects of drug law can be improved

The author believes that while the death penalty should not be mandatory, it should remain a sentencing option for the Courts at this point in time due to the public perception of its deterrent effect against drug trafficking and consumption.

The author believes that while the death penalty should not be mandatory, it should remain a sentencing option for the Courts at this point in time due to the public perception of its deterrent effect against drug trafficking and consumption.

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh says that notwithstanding Singapore’s strict laws against drugs, the number of individuals sent to the gallows for drug trafficking is lower than commonly assumed.

The Workers’ Party chief cites how the number of persons sentenced to death has been managed in two ways, by reducing drug quantities below the threshold amount, and issuing certificates of substantive assistance to accused persons.

Mr Singh calls for the courts to be empowered to decide whether an offender's death sentence should be substituted with life imprisonment and caning, if the evidence shows there has been cooperation with the authorities as required by law.

He says curbing of abuse of court processes in death penalty cases should not be done through legislation but should continue to be handled by the courts.

And while the death penalty should not be mandatory, Mr Singh says it should remain a sentencing option for the courts at this point in time due to the public perception of its deterrent effect against drug trafficking and consumption.
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