First Protest at Hong Lim Park After 2 Years Was a Protest Against Death Penalty in S’pore


When it comes to protesting in Singapore, there are two odd facts to know, as of April 2022:

  1. The only place where protests are legally allowed to take place is in the Speakers’ Corners at Hong Lim Park
  2. Due to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Speakers’ Corner has been reopened, except that only 950 people are allowed to gather at any given time.

Protests Against Death Penalty

According to the Nation Park Board (NPB), which manages the Speakers’ Corner, it received six applications for the usage of Hong Lim Park on 25 March.

Last Sunday (3 Apr), the first protest in years was held by the Transformative Justice Collective, with the objective of protesting against the largely controversial existence of death penalty.

There are many arguments for and against death penalty, and if you’ve ever been in a debates club, you’re probably sick of this topic by now.

Hundreds attended the two-hour-long event, holding various signs like “Execution is Not a Solution”, “End State Violence”, or “Execute Justice Not People”.

Other signs come with more damning rhetoric, such as “No More Blood On Our Hands” and “Don’t Kill In Our Names”, which is an obvious objection to the government narrative that the majority of Singaporeans support death penalty.

The event was also streamed live on Facebook to accommodate the fact that there was a maximum number of people who could attend in-person.

The Rise in Anti-Death Penalty Sentiments

Activist Jolovan Wham, who was the organiser of the event, was one of the speakers at the protest.

During his speech, he spoke out about how the recent cases in Singapore related to death penalty have helped gathered local and international awareness and momentum to the cause, to abolish the capital punishment in Singapore.

Among the cases are:

  • Abdul Kahar Othman, a 68-year-old Singaporean who was executed on 30 Mar 2022 for drug trafficking in 2015.
  • Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a Malaysian whose last appeal against the death penalty had fallen through recently, and was convicted of trafficking diamorphine in 2010.
  • Roslan Bakar and Pausi Hefridin, who were originally scheduled to hang on 16 Feb, but was given a last-minute respite by President Halimah Yakob.
  • Teo Ghim Heng, who was recently sentenced to death for the double-murder of his pregnant wife and daughter after losing his appeal.

It’s undeniable that the wave of cases involving death penalty might have forced Singaporeans to consider their views on this heavy topic, on what the justice system should represent more.

Should it be retribution, where drug traffickers and murderers pay for the ruin of life with their own lives?

When the government narrative constantly insists that capital punishment actually serves as a deterrence to such crimes, is it really true when the war against drugs have never shown any signs of receding?

Should the justice system opt for life imprisonment instead, to give inmates a chance for rehabilitation, whilst incapacitating and isolating these dangerous individuals from society?

Between capital punishment and life imprisonment plus community service, which serves to fulfil the branch of restoration more, wherein the criminal has to make direct amends to the community, and strive for forgiveness?


Justice has always been a tough balance between the five branches, but ultimately, which methodology does Singapore lean towards?

Join our Telegram channel for more entertaining and informative articles at or download the Goody Feed app here:

Where Do Our Opinions Stand?

During Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam’s parliament speech last month, he said that the death penalty continues to be relevant to Singapore.

He stated that the majority of Singapore citizens support the use of capital punishment and agree that it deters serious crimes, backing his claims with the preliminary findings from a survey that the Ministry of Home Affairs conducted last year.

From the turnout of over 400 people at the actual event, and nearly 2,000 people watching the livestream of the protest, it can be said that a minority are against the death penalty, but their whispers have grown louder.

A 23-year-old student by the name of Anais Matthew was interviewed at the Speakers’ Corner by The Straits Times, and he said: “I don’t want to be pessimistic but I don’t think anything would change because of (today’s event). But at least with this, maybe more attention can be brought to the issue and things can happen.”


Compared to the shifting societal attitudes for the LGBTQ+ Community, it’s more than likely that it will take a long time before the general perception on death penalty changes.

Read Also:

Featured Image: Facebook (Kirsten Han)