Singapore aims to complete review of laws on attempted suicide, marital immunity for rape ‘later this year’: Shanmugam

Singapore aims to complete review of laws on attempted suicide, marital immunity for rape ‘later this year’: Shanmugam

(Photo: Melissa Zhu)

SINGAPORE: A committee set up to review Singapore’s Penal Code aims to complete its work later in 2018, said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 9).

He was responding to questions from Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Kok Heng Leun on the outcome of reviews on the criminalisation of attempted suicide as well as marital immunity for rape.

In Singapore, individuals who attempt suicide can be jailed for up to one year or fined, or both.

Under Singapore law, husbands are exempted from being charged with raping their wives - unless she is below 13 years old, or there are specific circumstances pointing to a breakdown in the marriage.

The latter issue has been raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and other agencies since as early as 2013.

In July 2016, a committee was also set up to look at marital immunity for rape and other areas including attempted suicide, punishments for sex offenders and the need to create new criminal offences to deal with the changing crime environment, said Mr Shanmugam.

“The feedback on these issues, both from members of the House and outside, have been noted and are being considered in the review,” he added.

“In addition, the committee is also undertaking a fairly fundamental review on the principles which underlie our Penal laws, including the elements of criminal liability: The required mental element, intention, knowledge, the scope of mental health defenses, as well as some of the language used in the Penal Code.”

After the review is completed, MHA will then invite further feedback from the public on the recommendations, said the minister.

The committee is co-chaired by Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law Indranee Rajah and Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs Amrin Amin. It also comprises leading practitioners and thought leaders from the private sector, academia and the public sector, including the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Judiciary.

Source: CNA/jo

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