The Straits Times
Published on Nov 30, 2012

Death penalty for trafficking should remain


IF THE state-sanctioned killing of drug couriers is not the answer, can a life sentence for drug trafficking be a sufficient substitute ("Another view on death penalty and drug abuses" by Mr Calvin Cheng; last Friday)?

Could a lighter sentence, as opposed to capital punishment, convey the similar strong message across to drug kingpins? Singapore's low crime rate and stability can be attributed in part to good governance and a tough attitude towards crime.

If the Government had not made the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking, the negative consequences would have been grave, and the country would not have had an effective shield against the external forces attempting to carry out this threat.

I agree with Mr Wah June Hwang ("Drugs: Logic for lesser penalty doesn't cut it"; last Saturday) who countered Mr Calvin Cheng's point that drug abuse involves culpability on the part of the addict for seeking out the trafficker by arguing that "addiction is an addiction precisely because the addict has lost control over his ability to stop".

That is why drug addicts who are arrested are required to undergo tough rehabilitation programmes.

Illegal drugs must be kept out of reach of addicts and society, and the Government must tackle the source. Because of the harmful and potent danger, our laws must clearly indicate zero tolerance towards illegal drugs and trafficking. There is merit in keeping the death penalty mandatory.

Ada Chan (Ms)