PNG opposition MP against the death penalty
The Leader of the Opposition in Papua New Guinea says he will oppose the use of the death penalty because the majority of his constituents are against its use.
The deputy leader of the opposition in Papua New Guinea Sam Basil will not support the death penalty being applied.
Last week Nauru abolished the death penalty, leaving Papua New Guinea as one of the few Pacific states retaining the legislation.
Two years ago PNG announced it would reactivate the penalty to combat soaring levels of violent crime, but that move has been condemned internationally and last year the government indicated it could change its position.
Mr Basil says his personal view is to support the death penalty as a deterrent but he told Lucy Smith his constituents don't agree, and it is their views he represents.
SAM BASIL: I believe that from my district 30 percent want it and 70 percent don't want it So because I represent that 70 percent and more that gave their views to me I will have to represent their views on the parliament floor.
LUCY SMITH: When you say you're going to represent their views so they're against death penalty?
SB: Yeah they're against death penalty. Pressure is mounting from outside to ask members of parliament not to support death penalty. But as I said if I had my way I would be supporting death penalty. I'm only one I don't know about other members of parliament.
LS: Do you think PNG will follow Nauru's lead?
SB: I'm not sure about it but if you carry out a survey about how many people die in PNG every week compared to Nauru people being killed by criminals and people being intentionally killed by people? have you carried out a survey comparing on that before you compare Papua New Guineas stats to Nauru?
LS: Do you think the death penalty is a deterrent from crime?
SB: I think it could be for a while but not forever maybe for the next 5 - 10 years. I mean you look at Malaysia, you look at Singapore. I believe they have death penalty laws there, In Singapore it's the most safest place on earth you can freely walk around and all this so some people are comparing stats from those country to be favourable on the death penalty laws that we have here.
LS: Do you think there is pressure on PNG to get rid of the death penalty?
SB: Not if we're getting 5 people murdered everyday/every week we have to find a way to have police presence in the rural areas because that's where people are being killed every week. It's a bigger issue than stopping the death penalty it's more than that. At the back of my mind At the back of my mind if I can convince them in the future the subject will be a hot issue to still debate. We have to make sure that whatever government comes into play in the future we need to make sure we look after law and order issues to make sure we don't continue to have more than 5 people killed every week.
The deputy leader of the opposition in Papua New Guinea Sam Basil
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