Singapore To Increase Maximum Penalties For 3 Sex Crimes By 1 Year

Over the past years, several sexual offence cases have sparked outrage among Singaporeans. The furor wasn’t just over the nature of the crimes, but also the punishments dished out.

For instance, a 21-year-old NUS student was sentenced to 21 months’ probation after molesting a woman on the MRT. The judge reportedly said that the offender had the “potential to excel in life“, citing his academic results.

S’poreans Outraged By “Lenient” Sentence Given To NUS Student Who Allegedly Molested Woman On MRT

On Friday (5 Mar), Law Minister K Shanmugam announced that punishment for 3 types of sexual crimes will be made harsher.


He also said that mitigation pleas based on the offender’s educational qualifications and potential “should not carry much weight”.

Singapore to increase maximum penalties for 3 types of sex crimes

Speaking in Parliament on Friday (5 Mar), Mr Shanmugam said that the maximum penalties for 3 types of sexual crimes are set to increase by a year. The offences are:

  • Outrage of modesty
  • Sexual activity in the presence of a minor or showing a sexual image to a minor between 14 and 16 years old
  • Exploitative sexual activity in the presence of a minor or showing a sexual image to a minor between 16 and 18 years old:

This comes after several high-profile cases which sparked debates on whether offenders have been given inadequate sentences.

The courts will also take a more “deterrent stance” when it comes to adult offenders committing these crimes, reports The Straits Times.

As such, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will generally object to rehabilitative sentences like probation for such cases.

Offenders shouldn’t get lighter sentence due to education or prospects

Mr Shanmugam also added that offenders will not get off easier simply because they hold higher educational qualifications or have a bright future. In his words,

You shouldn’t be able to come to court and say you have a bright future, you will go far and so on.

In fact, mitigation pleas based on such arguments should not carry much weight.

MPs in the house also thumped in approval as Minister Shanmugam spoke passionately about how offenders ought to be punished regardless of their prospects in life,

You can go far. But first, serve the sentence.

Hope proposed changes will serve as effective forms of deterrence

Moving forward, we hope the proposed changes will serve as effective deterrence against sexual offenders.

Indeed, punishment for carrying out a crime should be considered irrespective of one’s educational background or prospect.

Do you think the proposed amendments are justified and sufficient? Let us know in the comments below.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured image adapted from CNA on YouTube.