What is your stance on the death penalty? Singapore is among other countries that continue to use the death penalty, but is it an appropriate way to punish convicts or should it be re-examined?

Sarawakian Michael Anak Garing is scheduled to hang at dawn this Friday. He was sentenced to death in 2015 and appealed unsuccessfully in 2017. 

Michael did not act alone but was the only one among the perpetrators who was given the death penalty. He had intended to rob his victim but landed a fatal blow on him. 

Michael will see the end of his life towards the end of this week. He turns 30 this year. 

"Just like any other executions anywhere else in the world, a new set of victims is created. Michael, a migrant worker from Sarawak who came to seek low waged work in Singapore in his 20s, has a family who loves him dearly.

So while we empathise with the family of Shanmuganathan for their loss, perhaps we should have more than a little think on whether we want the perpetrator's family to suffer the same."

While he deserved to be punished, it remains debatable if the death sentence is appropriate as a form of punishment. Is this "an eye for an eye" culture doing any good? Does capital punishment solve anything? If so, why are violent crimes still prevalent in the world today? If it does not present a solution, why keep it in the first place? 

Death penalty does not reduce crime rate or make the victim's family any happier. As society progresses, people have to ask themselves if the death penalty is reflective of how we want our society to be or if it should be rid of entirely. If we never change the way we perceive or do things, we cannot say for sure that our nation has actually progressed.

In the words of an anti-death penalty activist:

"The anti death penalty movement is not calling for convicted criminals to go scot free. Rather, we are calling for the re-examination and reform of the judicial system into one that is restorative rather than retributive."

Are we after all, so low? Is what we see now representative of us? Or can we afford to be a little better, a little higher?



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