The Final Word on the Execution of Muhammad Ridzuan bin Md Ali

Since the execution of Muhammad Ridzuan bin Md Ali last Friday, activists like M Ravi and Kirsten Han have been busy trying to stir the indignation of Singaporeans over the use of the death penalty in Singapore for capital crimes. Unfortunately, as hard as they tried, Singaporeans were not too bothered.
So why were Singaporeans not bothered? 

Was a lack of empathy the cause?

(Article contributed by Jack Tan. If you have an article to share, please PM us https://www.facebook.com/RiseofTheStrawberryNation)

Seriousness of Drug Offences. Don’t Forget the Innocent Victims

Well, if you look at the sentiments online, the lack of empathy was not the issue. Online sentiments showed that Singaporeans firmly believe in the use of the death penalty for drug offences. This is because many felt that drug abuse is not something that only affects the abuser, but also the families and society at large. The 72.5g of heroin that Ridzuan trafficked would have given the equivalent of 6,000 straws which would feed the addiction of 800 abusers for 1 week. Assuming that each abuser had a family of 4, this 72.5g would impact the lives of 3,200 Singaporeans. The numbers, the pain and the anguish caused is not trivial. 

Extended Due Process Involving 4 Appeals

Additionally, contrary to what M Ravi and Kirsten Han want Singaporeans to think, the judicial process leading to the eventual execution of Ridzuan was fair, transparent and based on established laws.

Specifically, Ridzuan was convicted of trafficking in 72.50 grams of diamorphine and sentenced to death by the High Court in April 2013. In Feb 2014, Ridzuan appealed to the Court of Appeal against his conviction. His appeal was dismissed. Ridzuan’s counsel then applied for leave to commence judicial review proceedings in Apr 2014. This too was heard and dismissed in July 2014. In August 2014, Ridzuan filed another appeal against the judge’s decision to dismiss the application for leave to commence judicial review proceedings. 

This appeal was also considered and dismissed in Oct 2015. In January 2016, Riduzan (and 3 other persons on death row) filed a criminal motion that the use of the death sentence was unconstitutional. Once again, the Court of Appeal dismissed the criminal motion in Dec 2016. In short, Ridzuan had filed multiple appeals against his sentence which were heard and dismissed. 

Why was Abdul Haleem Spared and Not Ridzuan

While M Ravi argues that it is unfair that Ridzuan was sentenced to death but Abdul Haleem bin Abdul Karim was spared, the fact of the case is that both Ridzuan and Abdul Haleem were jointly charged and convicted for the capital offence of trafficking in 72.50 grams of pure heroin.

In view that after Abdul Haleem’s arrest, he had substantively acted to assist the CNB in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore, the trial judge exercised his discretion and sentenced Abdul Haleem to life imprisonment with 15 strokes of the cane for the drug trafficking. 

However, as Ridzuan did not substantively assist CNB in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore, the trial judge was duty bound to sentence Ridzuan to the mandatory death sentence for the capital offence.

Harder Right than Easier Wrong

While M Ravi, Kirsten Han and a handful of other Singapore activists try to politicise the execution of Muhammad Ridzuan bin Md Ali, the fact remains that Singapore has as principle, chosen the harder right over the easier wrong to protect the lives of all Singaporeans. M Ravi and Kirsten would do well to also spare a thought for innocent victims.

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Death Penalty – Still Relevant?

Did you know that some ang-mos describe Singapore as “Disneyland with a death penalty”? Yeah, that sounds about right. Ask any Singaporean what is the first word that comes to mind when they hear death penalty and I dare say the answer is generally drugs. Seen the white immigration card for visitors of Singapore? Straight up warning: DEATH for drug traffickers under Singapore law. So, why bring this up?

Death Penalty for drugs

In May 2010, Mr Ridzuan was found in possession of 72.5 grams of heroin. In 2013, Singapore’s High Court passed the death sentence on him for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. He was scheduled to be executed by hanging earlier this morning.

Lo and behold, Human Rights Activist and Founder of Singaporean Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADP) M Ravi delivered a petition yesterday (Thu) to President Tony Tan to cancel the Warrant of Execution for Mr Ridzuan’s execution. By the way, I didn’t know you can suka suka walk up to the Istana to hand deliver the petition. Anyway, the President through his Principal Private Secretary not replied back to M Ravi that the President “will not be making a reference to a tribunal under Article 100 of the constitution”.  Then M Ravi also submitted an official complaint to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions claiming that the execution was a breach of Customary International Law.

How I know all these? Just follow M Ravi’s Facebook page lah.

By the time you read this, I am not sure of the fate of Mr Ridzuan but I would like to think that the country is divided. Some will say, give him a 2nd chance while others will say Do the Crime, Pay the Time” or in this case, face the consequences.

You will be forgiven if you think that capital punishment is outdated but recently Singapore completed the review of mandatory death penalty. In fact, Minister Shanmugam, in his no-nonsense approach, shared that one of the broad objectives for the review is the continued strong stance on crime.

“Where many other countries have failed, Singapore has succeeded in keeping the drug menace under control. Singapore’s homicide rate is one of the lowest in the world, and we believe that the deterrent effect of the death penalty has played an important part in this. Our tough approach to crime has resulted in crime rates which are significantly lower than many other major cities,” he said. “Young children can take public transport by themselves. Women can move around the city freely. We have no gun violence, no protection rackets, no drug pushers on the streets, no inner-city ghettoes. Citizens and visitors alike feel safe, in and out of home, at all hours of the day. This is something enjoyed by few cities in the world. This is something we should seek to preserve.”

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also added “The death penalty has been an important part of our criminal justice system for a very long time, similar to the position in a number of other countries. Singaporeans understand that the death penalty has been an effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment for very serious offences, and largely support it. As part of our penal framework, it has contributed to keeping crime and the drug situation under control.”

And then I leave you with this.

In response to arguments by Nominated MP Kok Heng Leun and MP Alex Yam (Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC) against capital punishment, saying they should focus on the victims instead of “just crying with the people in the death row”, Minister Shanmugam rebutted by sharing the 2006 murder of 2 year old Nurasyura, whose drug abusing stepfather, dunked her into a pail because he could not stand her crying. In another instance, 6 year old Edy was dumped in the Kallang River by a drug abuser who was caring for him while his parents were in jail for drugs.

Shanmugam added “In public policymaking, you need a soft heart, you need compassion, and that is what defines a civilised human being, but you can never have a soft head. If the heart alone rules policy, you are done for.”

Makes me wanna stand up and clap for him. While we applaud the efforts of M Ravi and grieve with the close friends and relatives of Mr Ridzuan…the fact remains. The hard right vs the easier wrong. Word.

Mr Ji Pa Ban – Rise of The Strawberry Generation (RTSN)

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Source of Feature image: Amnesty International

Ong Ye Kung: Politics is about giving people a better life. Really meh?

Minister Ong Ye Kung was in the limelight recently for the wrong reason. During his work visit to Switzerland recently, he made some comments at the 47th St Gallen Symposium that was picked up by the alternatives. More on that later.

1) Who is Ong Ye Kung?
Mr Ong Ye Kung is the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence. He was elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC in Sep 2015, and appointed to the Cabinet of Singapore as the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) on 1 Oct 2015. He is also Second Minister for Defence. Prior to his Cabinet appointment, he held the position of Director of Group Strategy at Keppel Corporation, overseeing long term strategic planning of the Group’s activities.

2) Why he matters?
We all love to speculate who will be the next Prime Minister after Ah Loong whose surname is not Lee. Many informal conversations with armchair political analysts who have NO inside info whatsoever (which means conversations at the local kopi tiam) show the following:
– Their gut tells them it is Heng Swee Keat.
– Their head tells them it is Chan Chun Sing.
– Their heart tells them it is Ong Ye Kung but lament that he does not have the experience the other two fellas have.

Fun Fact: Anyway, these three fellas are all members of the Future Economy Council whose responsibility is to implement the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy to grow the economy.

3) Some say he good looking? Zhu bo (sure or not)?
Being a politician, it helps to be photogenic, considering how often they have to be in the media. It does translate to likeability also coz we have all seen Ministers who have a kiam-pa” (wanna hammer) face! But this guy looks good in everything he wears especially a suit!

OYK2

Source: Ong Ye Kung FB Page

OYK

Source: Ong Ye Kung FB Page

Even when alternative media whack him, they also use good-looking photos of him instead of clownish photos of say “Lawrence Wong laughing” or “Ah Loong in the balloon hat”.

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4) Does he have personality or is he another PAP clone?
During the recent promotions of several MPs to Ministers and Senior Ministers of State (SMS), he sent congratulations (via his FB) to…(gasp) not the Ministers Jo Teo and Desmond Lee but to his fellow MOE colleagues Janil Puthucheary, Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Low Yen Ling. Politically, one would expect him to ankat the new Minister’s bola. Me thinks this guy is sincere and legit!

Also, did you know his lao pei is the late Ong Lian Teng, one of 13 Barisan Sosialis legislative representatives elected in the 1963 General Election. Yet, he is where he is today by depending on his own ability and not on relationships with any of the Lees. I say again, Me thinks this guy is sincere and legit!

5) So he kena whack for what?
As mentioned earlier, he was at the 47th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland (as part of a four-day working visit) and a member of a panel discussing politics and education in the age of disruption. To be honest, he wasn’t even whacked. His comments were just taken out of context and amplified by sites like The Independent Singapore (TISG) and States Times Review with a slanted twist. In fact, dunno how also one of the writers of the article “Is Ong Ye Kung wrong? Can you eat a degree?” ended up agreeing with his comments.

Og Ye Kung is right

Source: States Times Review

Ultimately, we also think he got a great future by the mere fact he is able to remain humble (“Singapore can learn from countries such as Switzerland, Denmark and Germany”) but also never let Singapore lau kwai (lose face) by highlighting the SkillsFuture initiative as an example of what the Gahmen was doing to encourage people to learn new skills.

Now…about that photo that Chuan-Jin sent him. Another post for another day.

Mr Teh Terik

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Source of Featured Image: TodayOnline

Edwin Tong, Hero or Villain? 

EDWIN Tong must be feeling the heat. City Harvest verdict is the talk of the town – Kong Hee and Serena Wee (hur hur) in particular but Edwin Tong’s name has surfaced. Edwin is the defense lawyer for City Harvest Church, Member of Parliament (Joo Chiat) and also member of the ruling party. 

If you want to read more about Edwin Tong, why not read his speech on means testing 

“I look at it not based on morals, but on legal standards.” 

Mothership rehashed an interview with Edwin Tong from 2015. Here’s a paragraph from the article mentioning City Harvest:  

“My perspective (for picking up the case) was, it’s the job I do — I act for a variety of people. So some may regard him (Kong Hee) to be immoral, but I’m not there to look after his morals, I’m there to look after whether he’s guilty or not of an offence. And that’s my job.” 

Is Edwin Tong wrong?

As a working adult, I gave my weekday nights to my company. How many times have I caved in to overtime, just to complete one last query from a customer. On most weekdays, I don’t even get to see the evening sun. 

Those in PR and marketing services may relate better. For instance, an inferior product, XYZ coffee needs to be marketed. Your firm is being paid to market the product. As the head of the marketing department, what will you do? A campaign for this product is required, regardless you like it or not.

Is there a need to enjoy that particular brand of coffee? Or must I be a coffee drinker? 

When called upon in our professional capacity, our role is to do our job. We want to bring the dough home. Do we have the right to fault Edwin Tong on the City Harvest verdict? 

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Cover photo source: Edwin Tong’s Facebook Page 

Game Over for Mr Tan Cheng Bock 

IS Mr Wee Kim Wee (WKW) the first Elected President (EP) of Singapore? Or was it Mr Ong Teng Cheong?

More importantly, is Mr Tan Cheng Bock (TCB) eligible to run for president this year? In his press conference on 31 March 2017, Mr Tan questioned about open elections and whether Mr Ong Teng Cheong is the first EP. 


All these are insignificant as TCB is not eligible to run for president. 

The change in qualifying criteria is to ensure that only qualified personnel are eligible to run for president. We don’t want another Tan Kin Lian or John Smith to appear. With that said, TCB was not in the most senior executive position during his private sector stint, effectively ruling him out of the 2017 race. Further, the Constitutional Amendment Bill has already been passed in Parliament – see below

Constitution Amendment Bill (2016) states it as such:


An election for the office of the President is reserved for a community if no person belonging to that community has held the office of President for any of the 5 most recent terms of office of the President.

On the other point, is Mr WKW the first EP? Here’s what we found. Mr Wee Kim Wee exercised the powers of the Elected Presidency for about two years – Nov 1991 to Sep 1993.

Article 163(1) of the Constitution states that the then incumbent president – namely, President Wee – “shall exercise, perform and discharge all the functions, powers and duties conferred or imposed upon the office of President by the Constitution as amended by [the 1991 Constitution (Amendment) Act], AS IF HE HAD BEEN ELECTED to the office of President by the citizens of Singapore…”

What the AGC did was to take into account that Mr Wee Kim Wee exercised the powers of an Elected President. He is thus considered the first EP. Using simple maths – WKW, OTC, SR Nathan, SR Nathan, Tony Tan, the next PE is reserved for a person from a minority race. 
Forget about Mr Tan Cheng Bock. The question now is who will run for the Elected President? 

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Which MP Legit Football Fan ah?

If you are an English Premier League (EPL) football fan, you would know that this season has been a topsy turvey one with 5 teams trying to chase after the unstoppable Chelsea. So it has become interesting with the fans as well as soccer bookies when Chelsea lost and Tottenham won, reducing the gap from 1st and  2nd team to only 7 points.

Lead me to to think if our MPs also follow football in their hectic lives of community events and parliamentary events. Coz last season when Lay-ches-ter City (Leicester City) won, some MPs were quick to use the victory to score some political points for themselves.

Please read about it in Political Mileage.

Then of course when Joseph Schooling won, more MPs used it to score political mileage even though they may have never stepped into a pool in their lives.

You can read about it in Political Mileage (Joseph Schooling edition).

Speaking of Joseph Schooling, he is a Chelsea fan!

Words can't describe the feeling of being at Stamford Bridge!! Thank you @chelseafc for the hospitality 😊

A post shared by Joseph Schooling (@josephschooling) on

Taking over his place… not like Chelsea needs him anyway hahaha 😂😂

A post shared by Joseph Schooling (@josephschooling) on

So…who are the MPs who are legit EPL fans?

  1. Melvin Yong – Everton

So anyway, it looks like MP Melvin Yong is from Tanjong Pagar GRC is a legit Everton fan! He posts quite consistently about his team, even watching them live when they were in Singapore.

2. Tan Chuan Jin – Liverpool

Then looks like the Army Minister is a legit Liverpool fan! I say so becoz of the following post. Anyone who meets Man Utd Legend David Beckham and still say he Liverpool fan must have balls of steel.

3. Shanmugam – Arsenal

When he is not whacking opposition or scolding our neighbours, I suppose Saturday nights are reserved for this self-proclaimed “long suffering Arsenal fan”. So now we know he is not a happy man on Monday morning when Arsenal loses.

So which other MP you know is a legit football fan?

Mr Teh Terik

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<Featured Image Credit: Tan Chuan-Jin FB Page>

Movie Review: The Passenger 

Panda: “Hey, have you watch this movie, ‘The Passenger’.”

Joe: “What movie is that?”

Panda: “Who act ah. The hunger games girl, Jennifer Lawrence.”

Joe:”What about it?”

Panda: “It is about a time when everything on earth is so advanced that people start migrating to other planets.”

Joe: “Okay …..”

Panda: “But the fucked up thing is that there’s only 4 people acting. Cheapo movie.”


Panda:” So, this group of people are on board a spaceship and for some reason, this guy woke up. He realized that he is 99 years away from reaching the planet. Everyone is sleeping. As you sleep, you don’t age.”
Joe: “This fella must have woke someone up.”

Panda: “Yeah, the guy woke Jennifer Lawrence up.”

Joe: “Okay. And without giving away spoilers, they fell in love and the story continues ….”

Panda:” Yup. This is like the standard 2 person stuck on an island love story but in this case, a spaceship. To me, it does not matter whether you are on a spaceship or in a country, the process of finding love is the same, it’s how you use it.”

Do you agree with Panda’s review? 

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