Before I get into today’s post, let me get 3 things out first;
1) I am a supporter of the death penalty,
2) I am not a fan of Yong Vui Kong, who is a convicted and admitted drug-dealer,
3) I think the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign is an exercise in futility as most Singaporeans support the death penalty,
So you can just guess how puzzling the ruling of High Court Judge Steven Chong is when even I have issues with his ruling that the President of Singapore has no discretion, under the Constitution, to grant pardons! Only the Cabinet has the power to do so!
As Yong Vui Kong’s lawyer M Ravi commented almost immediately after the ruling, “Lawyers have been sending petitions to the President all these years.” Now I’m no lawyer but even I thought that when someone on death row applies for clemency from the President, it’s a appeal that is for the President of Singapore, not the Cabinet of Singapore.
You mean all these years, all the lawyers in Singapore had been doing the wrong things? Can lawyers be sued for malpractice as they had been doing the wrong things for all these years? What about all the pardons that had been granted before by our current and previous Presidents? I mean there must be some death penalty pardons that had been granted before right? Are all those in jeopardy now due to this ruling?
As you can tell, Justice Chong’s ruling has opened a can of worms that has led most Singaporeans to wonder about many things, including (arguably) the most important; “If the President of Singapore don’t even have the power to grant pardons, what’s he there for?”