The focus of local news has been the recent debates about the proposed changes in legislation. Some of these changes proposed include:
- A full repeal on marital immunity for rape (Read: in 2016, CNA looks into the origins of the law and the implications of its removal)
- Decriminalising attempt of suicide (Read: criminalising attempt of suicide is not a deterrence)
- Removal of outdated laws and updating sentencing frameworks
Read this article to find out more: Marital rape, voyeurism to become offences in ‘sweeping’ changes proposed for Singapore’s penal code
Laws perform many important functions in a society. They maintain peace, shape moral standards, and promote social justice. What the law rules as crime is a reflection of what society deems to be undesirable behavior. However, lines between what we think are right and wrong can be murky.
Singapore inherited its law system from the British. As society progresses, some of these laws may not align with moral standards or mental models of the society at large. Therefore, it can be a long-drawn debate on what values the society and leaders think are desirable to uphold. Not all amendments would take societal views into consideration. As Minister Shanmugam explains in a comment in the context of challenging Section 377A, it depends on the legislation being challenged whether the Parliament takes into consideration public opinion.
Food for thought:
- What are your stands for the proposed changes? How would you argue for your case?
- How does the legal system work in Singapore? (Check out the Supreme Court exhibition.)
Useful phrases and vocabulary:
- Abolishment – to do away with; put an end to; annul; make void
- ‘Subscribe to the belief’ – to agree with a belief/theory
- Proliferation – rapid increase, or excessive spread
- ‘Threatens the integrity’ – compromising certain rules and principles