Sunday, August 07, 2011

Voices of concern - capital punishment

Dear Mr. Tan,
There has been much talk about the role of the president much of which centered around money and reserves. There has been little discussion about the humanitarian and social aspects.

The voices of concern have only focused on money related issues. What are your views on capital punishment and its mode here in Singapore? Many believe that judicial hangings are gruesome and inhumane, and believe the mode and system should be brought in line with the times.

I also write to also ask your opinion on the process of clemency in relation to the Yong Vui Kong case. The Hon Justice Choo Han Teck, found Vui Kong to be too young to be dealt with the death sentence, but the prosecution did not agree to reduce the charge.

How, if you are elected (with the 'limited powers'), will you fully address the 'voice of the people', particularly on such issues? What if Vui Kong was Singaporean? I believe parts of the system are draconian and need to be brought in line with the times.

I am of the opinion that the president should be as independent as the judiciary. The role of president was described on a forum as an 'expensive flower vase' paid for by the people and placed by political convenience.

'Voice of the people' is very proactive, I sincerely hope you can be, unlike all the mostly impotent presidents of the past. I wish you all the best and you can count on my support.

I believe that the President should have the full power of clemency and he should not be required to act on the advice of the cabinet.

However, my personal view is not in line with the power of the President as stated in the constitution. I hope that the constitution will be changed in this respect.

Regarding the specific case of Yong Vui Kong, I wish to hold back my personal judgement, as I have not been following this case in detail. If I were the President and the case comes before me, I will have to rely on the President Advisory Council to deliberate on this matter and give a recommendation.

Even with the limited power under the current constitution, I will give my personal views to the cabinet (after studying the case and getting the advice of the President Advisory Countil) for the cabinet to make a final decision.

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