Re-examine judicial & clemency process, M’sian lawyers urge S’pore

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Lawyers for Liberty, a Malaysian group which is against the death penalty, has called on the Malaysian government to raise the case of Yong Vui Kong with Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who is on a one-day visit to the country.

Prime Minister Lee is accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, and Law Minister and Second Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam.

Prime Minister Lee met with his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, on Tuesday.

“Lawyers for Liberty is of the view that there are good grounds for the Singaporean authorities to review the death penalty decision as there were flaws in the clemency process,” said Eric Paulsen, the group’s representative.

“Since the case deals with a death sentence, and more so with a young person, it is incumbent on the authorities to halt the execution and re-examine the whole judicial and clemency process,” he added.

Mr Madasamy Ravi, the lawyer for Yong, had highlighted these flaws, which included the Singapore Law Minister, Mr K Shanmugam, making certain remarks a week before the Court of Appeal laid down its judgement on Yong’s appeal. Mr Ravi feels that this may have prejudiced his client’s constitutional rights.

Yong, a Malaysian from the state of Sabah, was 19-years old when he was arrested for trafficking in 47g of heroin into Singapore in 2007. He was subsequently found guilty by the courts and sentenced to hang. Mr Ravi has since fought a tireless campaign to have this sentence commuted. He has also urged the Malaysian government to bring the matter to the International Court of Justice to ascertain if the Singapore government’s actions have offended “the rules of natural justice, due process and the Constitution.”

The Malaysian authorities have since contacted Mr Ravi and its Law Minister is expected to meet with him sometime this week.

The media in Malaysia has in the past week or so picked up on the case as well, including this latest report on Malaysiakini. The Singapore media, on the other hand, has opted to keep silent on Yong's case and Mr Ravi's campaign to save his client from the gallows.

Malaysia is one of three Asian countries, along with Singapore and Thailand, which has the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.

Singapore is believed to be among the countries with the most number of judicial executions.

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Headline picture courtesy of Channel NewsAsia

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