Oral Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Sentencing Options for Intellectually Disabled Offenders by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health

Published: 18 May 2018


Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Minister will consider reviewing the Criminal Procedure Code to (i) provide the courts with sentencing discretion for offences mandating imprisonment and caning where the offender is intellectually disabled and (ii) expand the sentencing options for intellectually disabled offenders such as mandatory treatment orders.



1. We will study the issue. There are a number of considerations that we will need to balance.


2. First, intellectual disability occurs along a wide spectrum of severity. Persons with severe intellectual disability to the extent that they are incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of the act they had committed, are acquitted. However, in other cases, intellectual disability may not negate the culpability of the offender.


3. Second, we will need to take into account other sentencing considerations. Offences which attract mandatory imprisonment and caning are generally serious and involve violence, such as robbery and aggravated rape. Such offences cause great distress to victims and threaten public safety. As such, punishment, deterrence and public protection are key considerations in sentencing for such offences.


4. As for Mr Ng’s second question, mandatory treatment orders (MTOs) are imposed when an offender is suffering from a mental illness which is treatable, and which contributed to his offence. However, psychiatric assessments of offenders have found that those with merely intellectual disability are unsuitable for MTOs as their conditions were not assessed to be treatable.


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