Richard Branson declines invitation to debate death penalty with Shanmugam, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Richard Branson declines invitation to debate death penalty with Shanmugam

British billionaire Richard Branson has declined Singapore’s invitation to a live televised debate with Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

In a statement issued on Monday, he said he was declining the invitation as he felt a debate on such a platform would lack nuance.

He said: “I have decided to decline this invitation. Here is why: 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.

“It reduces nuanced discourse to soundbites, turns serious debate into spectacle. I can’t imagine that is what you are looking for. What Singapore really needs is a constructive, lasting dialogue involving multiple stakeholders, and a true commitment to transparency and evidence.”

In his statement, which was issued on his blog on the Virgin Group website, he added that the conversation needed local voices.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had previously rebutted his Oct 10 blog post about Malaysian Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who was hanged in April for drug trafficking.

The ministry said on Oct 22 that Mr Branson also made false assertions about alleged racial bias here and the treatment of capital defence lawyers.