Tough call holding families responsible for members' misdeeds

Should we hold families responsible for the misdeeds of their own members (Govt takes serious view of withholding of key security info; June 13)?

In ancient China, emperors repressed rebellion by punishing not only the culprit, but also all his relatives, teachers, students and other close associates.

It was an unjust practice, but it worked extraordinarily well to quell any plotters.

Holding families responsible for the misdeeds of their kin is morally difficult to justify in a modern humane society.

But, in the broader societal context, it serves the greater principles of stability, cohesion, peace and the good of all.

There is already a law stating that families living in rental HDB flats may be evicted if any of their members are found to have thrown killer litter.

More discussion is needed before we expand this law, but there may be merit to having such a penalty in other areas.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'Tough call holding families responsible for members' misdeeds'. Print Edition | Subscribe