Offenders do not get away easily or lightly for any type of crimes based on their backgrounds, including sexual offenders, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin in Parliament on Feb. 3, 2020.
Amrin was responding to a follow-up question posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah, who asked for the reason behind the discrepancy in sentences awarded for recent sexual offences, especially those involving university students.
NUS student given probation instead of jail term for upskirt photos
In Parliament, Lee brought up the example of a 31-year-old man who was jailed for four weeks after being caught taking upskirt videos at Woodlands Checkpoint in December 2019.
She contrasted it with the case of a 25-year-old NUS student, who was suspended for photographing two female students in the shower.
The NUS student was not given a jail sentence.
Lee then asked why there was such a discrepancy in the sentencing for these cases, and questioned whether the wrong signal was being sent.
Not wise to draw conclusions based on one or two cases
In response, Amrin said that the different sentences could be a result of individual cases.
He said that there may be specific sentences or cases that would merit a different punishment or treatment, and that it was not wise to draw conclusions based on one or two cases.
"It's important we send a very strong message that the rich do not get away easily or lightly for any type of crimes, including sexual offences," said Amrin.
Lee said that the public feels that university students get away easily
In a follow-up question, Lee said that her question was not about the wealth of the perpetrators, but rather their education background.
"The perception is not just the rich who get away, it is if you are in a university, you have a bright future, we don't want to ruin your future, so you get away easily. That is the public perception," said Lee.
Amrin said that it was important not to draw a conclusion based on one or two cases, but acknowledged that it was "an important question that we need to address together".
"Whether you are rich, or you are educated, you do not get away easily. The law applies regardless of our backgrounds or income levels, and it is important that we continue to dispel such misperceptions," said Amrin.
He added that if Lee had specific instances, or cases that she would like answers to, she could file a separate question.
Top image from Gov.sg's YouTube.