My niece texted me this article because she was preparing for secondary school project and asked for my inputs. My initial reply to her:" K**! School reopen less than a month and you kanna project liao meh? Sai school! "
I think it must be some anti-drug campaign but now with this human rights angle, dunno how to explain it to her. She think that angmohs are very kaypoh. LOL (which I agree) .
Once again, some foreign organisation has decided to stick its nose into Singapore's affairs and critique our "draconian" laws and capital punishment for drug trafficking.
The death sentence for all convicted drug traffickers was set in place for a reason. We cannot afford to let drug problems cripple families and the nation's well-being, especially when Singapore has no natural resources and is reliant on its human resources.
Singaporeans are educated on the hazards of drug abuse right from a young age through teachers and parents, as well as public campaigns. For those who take a wrong step and fall into substance abuse, there are rehab houses that help them out of the pits and put them back on track in life.
To reinforce these efforts, steps must also be taken to prevent, or at least minimise, the inflow of drugs. What use is there if children were taught not to abuse drugs but ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and all the devils were easily available off street corners?
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's World Drug Report 2011, the annual prevalence of opiates (defined as a drug containing or derived from opium) use as a percentage of the population aged 15-64 was 0.01. Malaysia and Indonesia, which also impose the death penalty on convicted drug traffickers, have a prevalence of use of 0.94% and 0.16% respectively.
That prevalence of use in the US was 5.9% – the highest of all countries surveyed. Costa Rica ranks second at 2.8%.
The same study looks at cocaine and cannibis usage across the world too. While data for these abuses are lacking for Singapore, prevalence of cannibis use in Malaysia and Indonesia was 1.6% and 0.4% respectively. The prevalence of cocaine use in Indonesia was less than 0.1%. No data was available for Malaysia.
That prevalence of cocaine and cannibis use in the US was 2.4% and 13.7% respectively.
So why am I drawing references to the US? Well, because the US is such a huge advocator of human rights, and the downside to giving its people so much freedom to live however they want is the flood of social ills and crime. With freedom comes responsibility, and humans are not exactly absolutely responsible beings. If we could get away with something, chances are, we would do it.
And this leads me to a piece of news that hit our newspapers earlier this week. New York-headquarted Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent the Singapore president an appeal against the death sentence of Malaysian national Yong Vui Kong, who was found guilty of possessing 42.27 grams of heroin in 2008. Yong was initially sentenced to death in December 2008 but he managed to escape the gallows several times through appeals.
Yong's third appeal was denied in early April, and it has been reported that he is down to his last chance.
What I found appalling was what Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director, said in his appeal: "Singapore’s mandatory death sentences clearly violate international human rights standards.
"Executing another young man for a narcotics offence will only reinforce the image of Singapore’s authorities as oblivious to basic rights and due process."
Sticking to the death sentence is necessary to demonstrate our resolution in maintaining a drug-free (or as much as possible) society and to discourage would-be traffickers. As a possible future parent, I want Singapore to be as clean as possible, so that my children will not risk being exposed to lifestyle drugs as a user or a peddler and have his/her life wasted.
Yong had a choice – he chose to carry drugs across our border.
I will never be able to understand the depth of pain his family has to go through with this looming death sentence, and I hope never would I have to understand it. Still, I must admit that this is indeed very unfortunate. While one could offer sympathy, there is no place for pardon. Yong must be punished, and in accordance to Singapore's anti-drug laws.
Singapore cannot give potential drug traffickers a single ounce of hope that they might escape death should they ever try to bring drugs onto our land.
I hope our president will stay strong and not waver under pressure from outsiders who have no stake in Singapore's present and future.