Singapore Law Society President Called Out Richard Branson’s Reasons for Declining Live Debate


If you’re gonna talk big online, you should make sure you can keep it up in real life.

Richard Branson was called out by Adrian Tan, president of the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc), for rejecting an invitation to join a televised debate in Singapore on our drug laws.

You can watch this video to know more about the incident:


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Richard Branson is a British billionaire and the founder of the Virgin Group, which runs the very atas Virgin Active gyms in Singapore and more around the world.

Branson is also known to be someone who has campaigned against capital punishment and he’s been quite active in blogging about the death penalty in Singapore.

During the case of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, Branson voiced out his views to AFP that despite his “enormous respect” for our financial hub, the death penalty in Singapore was “the one horrible blotch on its reputation”.

He proceeded to urge the country to “abolish the death penalty altogether and do what most other civilised countries have done.”

With all these roasts that he had for Singapore, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to invite him over on 22 October for a debate on the drug laws that he kept ranting about.

But what came as a surprise was when he rejected the offer.

His excuse?

“A television debate—limited in time and scope, always at risk of prioritising personalities over issues—cannot do the complexity of the death penalty any service,” he said in a blog post.

Adrian Tan, president of the Law Society of Singapore, responded and said it was a “feeble excuse”.

Tan mentioned how the government would’ve given him as much time as he needed thus, a useless excuse. Not to mention how he seemed to have so much knowledge of the drug laws in the country.

Tan basically called cap on Branson’s immense knowledge of Singapore’s drug laws.

Take note, if Branson had accepted the offer, his flight and accommodation would also be fully paid for.


In his blog, he explained how the debate should have local voices instead of his and that “what Singapore really needs is a constructive, lasting dialogue involving multiple stakeholders.”

It is quite ironic as what Tan said, “It’s funny that Branson says that. For the longest time, Singaporeans have been saying the same thing to him… that he is not a stakeholder, and he’s not a local voice. But it’s never stopped Branson from telling Singaporeans what to do.”

Oof…that call out…

Tan also mentioned how he was disappointed that Branson did not want to come to Singapore after writing so much about us.

While it is true that local voices also need to be heard, I guess it was the build-up that Branson did from all his opinions that let Tan down when he said no to the invitation.


Drug Laws in Singapore

Just in case you didn’t know, here’s how severe our drug laws are.

Those found possessing controlled drugs are liable to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, or a fine of $20,000 or both.

For those caught consuming either controlled or specified drugs, they can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of $20,000 or both. This is the same as the maximum penalty for possession.

Now for drug trafficking, it varies. Depending on the class and the quantity of the drugs trafficked, the penalty ranges from imprisonment and strokes of cane to the mandatory death penalty.

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Featured Image: Brian Friedman /