SINGAPORE (ANN): Singapore has the sovereign right to use the death penalty against drug offenders and expects other countries to respect its laws, said the Republic's Law and Home Affairs Ministries in a joint statement on Friday (Nov 22).
The ministries were replying to a statement by Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who had noted with "grave concern" the execution of a Malaysian citizen for drug offences in Singapore.
Convicted Malaysian drug trafficker Abd Helmi Ab Halim had his death sentence carried out on Friday at Changi Prison Complex, after an unsuccessful petition to Singapore's President for clemency.
He had trafficked pure heroin enough to feed the addiction of nearly 200 abusers for a week, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said. He was accorded full due process under the law, and was represented by legal counsel throughout the process, they added.
The ministries also noted that Liew said that "drug kingpins and true masters of the trade who shadow the curtains in the dark... must face the full brunt of the law" in order to control the drug problem.
"Malaysia can help in the common fight against drugs by aggressively rooting out the drug kingpins in Malaysia who send drug traffickers from Malaysia to Singapore," the ministries said, adding that Malaysia can also take "serious steps" to prevent people from being recruited for drug trafficking and from crossing into Singapore.
"In this way, Malaysia can do more to help save the lives of Malaysians who would otherwise become drug traffickers, trafficking drugs into Singapore. Such drug traffickers, by peddling drugs, bring death and misery, and destroy thousands of lives in Singapore."
The two ministries also said that Malaysia's government has previously said that it respected the rule of law and due process of Singapore, commenting on a similar case.
"Singapore's laws apply equally to all, regardless of whether the offender is Singaporean or foreign," the ministries said, adding that foreigners cannot expect different treatment.
Noting that there is no international consensus on the death penalty, the ministries added that the death penalty is an important component of Singapore's comprehensive anti-drug strategy.
"Singapore respects the sovereign right of other countries to determine their own legal systems, and expects the same in return." - The Straits Times/Asia News Network