Singapore’s statement on Nagaenthran contains ‘outright falsities’


We refer to the latest statement issued by the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 6 November 2021 on the impending execution of mentally disabled Malaysian citizen Nagaenthran Dharmalingam.

The MHA had already issued a similar statement on 3 November in response to increasing pressure not to execute a mentally disabled person; this new statement appears to a further reaction to what is now global attention and mounting opposition to the execution on 10 November [now pending].

The contents of both the 3 November and 6 November MHA statements are substantially similar; hence this appears to be mainly a ‘Goebbels-like’ exercise in repetition.

In essence, the MHA again repeats that the courts had assessed all the evidence including psychiatric testimony and had affirmed the death sentence; but this does not answer concerns in Malaysia, Singapore and throughout the world that it is cruel, inhuman and unlawful to execute someone like Nagaenthran who has borderline intellectual functioning, IQ of 69, ADHD and other associated cognitive problems.

We are also appalled that the MHA falsely claims in its statement that the court had assessed the evidence of psychiatrists “including the evidence of a psychiatrist called by the Defence on behalf of Nagaenthran, who agreed in court, that Nagaenthran was not intellectually disabled”. The MHA’s claim that a defence psychiatrist had given evidence that Nagaenthran was not intellectually disabled is an outright lie.

On the contrary, the defence psychiatrist Dr Ung Eng Khean of Adam Medical Centre in fact testified in the High Court that Nagaenthran was intellectually disabled. A quick perusal of the reported judgment will confirm this. We are appalled that in their desperation to stem the tsunami of criticism over this execution, the Singapore MHA has now resorted to such blatant falsities.

READ MORE:  Death penalty abolition: How the BN, PH-plus and BN-PN-GPS fared

The statement also tries to justify the pending execution by stating that Singapore has a “zero-tolerance stance against illicit drugs”. In no way does the excuse of having a tough anti-drug policy, ameliorate or justify the hanging of a mentally disabled person; nothing can make this execution right or palatable to any decent right-minded person.

In the interest of justice and humanity, we urge Singapore not to drag this matter to the eleventh hour, but to the announce a halt to the execution immediately. – 6 November 2021

N Surendran is the advisor of Lawyers for Liberty

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments