SINGAPORE - The Singapore Government has dismissed as baseless allegations that Malaysian prisoners had been targeted for capital punishment, saying that the country's laws "apply equally" to both local and foreign offenders.
"Regardless of nationality, all offenders, including prisoners sentenced to death, are accorded full due process under the law," a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Saturday (July 13).
It said all foreigners who visit or live in Singapore must abide by its laws and if they choose to break the laws, they must be prepared to be subject to Singapore laws. "Singapore has strong rule of law and an independent judiciary," it added.
A report on Friday in Malaysian newspaper The Star highlighted how clemency petitions for four Malaysian drug convicts were rejected by Singapore over the past week.
In the report, Mr N. Surendran, an adviser for Lawyers for Liberty, a Malaysian human rights and law reform organisation, said that the unusual number of simultaneous clemency rejections raised questions as to whether each prisoner's case had been duly considered by the Singapore Cabinet and President Halimah Yacob.
He urged his government to make urgent representations to Singapore on behalf of the four Malaysians, adding that they "form the largest group of foreign nationals now facing execution in Changi".
MHA on Saturday said that each clemency petition was carefully considered on its own merits and that the President "acted on the advice of the Cabinet, in accordance with Article 22P of the Constitution, in not exercising the clemency power".
"The use of capital punishment is an issue that every country has the sovereign right to decide for itself, taking into account its own circumstances. There is no international consensus against the use of the death penalty when it is imposed according to due process of law," the statement said.
"Singapore respects the sovereign right of other states to determine their own legal systems and expects the same in return."