Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) is disappointed that Singapore, which is just one of four countries still conducting execution for drug offences in 2017, went ahead and hanged 31-year-old Malaysian Prabu Pathmanathan on 26 October 2018.
Prabu was sentenced to death for committing several acts preparatory to and for the purposes of trafficking 228g of diamorphine or heroin into the island state on 31 December 2014 (Malaysiakini, 26 October 2018).
According to a report in The Online Citizen, Prabu was just one of a possible four individuals who were executed that week. TOC reported: “Ali Bin Mohamad Bahashwan was executed alongside his co-accused Selamat Bin Paki on Wednesday afternoon (24 October 2018)… Irwan Ali, a Singaporean, is the other inmate who is set to be executed this Friday…” (TOC, 26 October 2018).
The Singapore Prison Service 2017 annual report showed eight people were executed in 2017, up from four in 2016. Actual statistics of executions carried out in 2018 cannot be confirmed, as Singapore continues to be ‘secretive’ and not transparent with such data. It is believed that there may have already been about eight executions to date in 2018.
Many times in Singapore, one becomes aware of upcoming executions only when the immediate family is informed days before and takes the trouble to inform anti-death penalty advocates and groups.
The death sentence is provided for drug-related crimes in about 15 countries, but according to Amnesty International only four countries recorded drug offence executions in 2017 – Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China (South China Morning Post/SCMP, 26 October 2018).
In reality, the majority of those executed for drug trafficking will not be “kingpins” but are just low-level offenders.
Many may have been driven to crime through poverty, which highlights a failure of governments in ensuring the wellbeing and livelihood of its people. Singapore, Malaysia and other states must really look into the link of poverty to crime, and maybe the solution to crime reduction may be a caring government policy that will ensure that no one will ever need to resort to crime out of desperation for the wellbeing of themselves and their families.
Singapore also needs to strive to become a more caring and civilised nation and do away with the archaic death penalty just like neighbouring Malaysia, which has already made the decision to totally abolish the death penalty.
In Malaysia, the necessary bills will be tabled at this current parliamentary session, which will give effect to the cabinet decision to abolish the death penalty.
Madpet calls on Singapore to follow neighbouring Malaysia and abolish the death penalty, as we strive forward for a more caring and civilised Asean where there is no more death penalty and torture.
Madpet also calls on Malaysia to immediately identify Malaysians on death row at risk of being executed in Singapore prisons and proactively act now to save them from being executed by Singapore. This is a priority, as knowledge about impending executions only comes to light at the eleventh hour and that too in only certain cases.
Madpet further calls on Singapore to impose a moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty.
Charles Hector issued this statement on behalf of Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet).