TL; DR – Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents very strongly support the use of death penalty against the most serious crimes in Singapore.
Three studies commissioned to understand views of Singapore residents on the death penalty
Since 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has regularly commissioned studies to understand views of Singapore residents and the perceptions of residents in regional cities on death penalty (DP)
The three important studies are:
- Survey on Singapore Residents’ Attitudes towards the Death Penalty, conducted by the MHA Research and Statistics Division in 2021 (“RSD 2021”).
- Study on Attitudes towards the Use of Capital Punishment, commissioned by MHA in 2019 and conducted by Dr Carol Soon and Shawn Goh, Institute of Policy Studies (“IPS 2020”); and
- Perception of Residents in Regional Cities on Singapore’s Crime Situation, Law and Safety, commissioned by the MHA Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre and conducted in two phases in 2018 and 2021 respectively (“HTBSC 2021”).
The key findings across the studies
Across the three studies, more than 7 in 10 Singapore residents agree or strongly agree that DP is justified for the most serious of crimes.
Respondents on the studies were also asked on their views on mandatory DP. Singapore imposes mandatory DP on certain crimes. 33 offences including murder, drug trafficking, terrorism, use of firearms and kidnapping warrant the DP under Singapore law.
Specifically, they were asked if the DP was appropriate for the serious crimes. More than 6 in 10 agreed or strongly agreed that DP is appropriate/should be mandatory for crimes like intentional murder, intentional trafficking of large amounts of drugs and the use of firearms.
Is the death penalty effective as a deterrent?
There was strong agreement (Almost 8 in 10) amongst Singaporeans and Singapore PRs that the DP is effective in deterring serious crimes, which includes the trafficking of substantial amounts of drugs. About 7 in 10 felt that the DP was more effective than life imprisonment.
In the latest 2021 study, it was found that almost 9 in 10 (of regional residents) believed that DP was a harsh and sufficient deterrent against drug traffickers who intend to bring drugs into Singapore. More than 8 in 10 believed that DP was more effective than life imprisonment. These findings mirror the sentiments of Singapore residents.
Death penalty: Singapore residents want to keep it
Overall, it has been shown that Singaporeans find the DP appropriate and necessary for the most serious crimes committed in Singapore. Our ‘neighbours’ in regional cities echo our sentiments. There may be calls to abolish the DP in Singapore, but are those really the majority voices – or what Singapore residents really want?
Singapore’s criminal justice system has enjoyed very high levels of public confidence as it ensures fair and rigorous investigations and trials. In capital cases, it provides adequate safeguards – it does not kill for the sake of killing.
Read MHA’s Press Release here.