Singapore invites billionaire Richard Branson to debate death penalty

City state Singapore has invited UK billionaire Richard Branson to take part in a televised debate about capital punishment with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam.

This invitation was prompted by a blog post by Branson where he criticized Singapore for their continued use of capital punishment.

Branson said in a blog post that “Singapore still finds itself on the wrong side of history” with its continued use of the death penalty, especially for drug offenses. Branson cited the case of drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam who was executed this year. This case garnered attention by many saying that Dharmalingam had mental health issues.

Dharmalingam was hanged in 2009 after attempting to smuggle 43 kilograms of heroin into Singapore. All appeals to stop the execution were rejected.

Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs hit out at Branson’s comments in a statement on Saturday saying that Dharmalingam “knew what he was doing and that he was not intellectually disabled.”

“Mr. Branson may use this platform to demonstrate to Singaporeans the error of our ways and why Singapore should do away with laws that have kept our population safe from the global scourge of drug abuse,” the ministry said in the statement. His “flight to and accommodation in Singapore will be paid for.”

The ministry also said that their strict rules on drug trafficking were in place to protect Singapore citizens from the dangers of drugs and that their strict enforcement of all rules has resulted in a consistent decrease in substance abuse.

“Mr Branson is entitled to his opinions,” the ministry said. “These opinions may be widely held in the UK, but we do not accept that Mr Branson or others in the West are entitled to impose their values on other societies. Nor do we believe that a country that prosecuted two wars in China in the 19th century to force the Chinese to accept opium imports has any moral right to lecture Asians on drugs.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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