MHA invites Richard Branson to live TV debate with Shanmugam on death penalty, rebuts blog post slamming S'pore's stance
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday (Oct 22) rebutted several statements made by billionaire Richard Branson regarding Singapore’s drug laws on his personal blog.
The ministry also invited Mr Branson, who is the founder of multinational conglomerate Virgin Group, to a live televised debate with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam in Singapore where he may use this platform to "demonstrate to Singaporeans the error of our ways" and why Singapore should do away with laws that have kept its population safe from the global scourge of drug abuse.
MHA rebutted Mr Branson's claim that Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam was hanged for drug trafficking despite having a “well-documented intellectual disability”. The ministry said that the Courts held that Nagaenthran knew what he was doing and that he was not intellectually disabled.
MHA said that the capital sentence has had a "clear deterrent effect" on drug trafficking, noting a 66 per cent reduction in the average net weight of opium trafficked into Singapore within four years, after the mandatory capital sentence was introduced for trafficking the substance.
The ministry also rebutted Mr Branson's suspicion of racial bias “against a population that is disproportionately represented on Singapore’s death row”. MHA said his assertion was false and that Singapore laws and procedures apply equally to all, regardless of background, nationality, race, education level or financial status.