Death row case: M’sian Parliament to debate emergency motion

After some flip-flopping by the Malaysian Law Minister, parliamentarians will finally get to ask him about the case of Yong Vui Kong.

Yong, a 22-year old Malaysian, is in Singapore’s death row after having been convicted of drug trafficking in 2007.

Malaysian Member of Parliament, Tian Chua, has filed an “emergency motion” for the Malaysian Parliament to debate Yong’s case on Monday, 05 July.

The Online Citizen understands that the motion is supported by MPs from across the political spectrum, including the MCA from the ruling Barisan Nasional, PAS and PKR which is led by Anwar Ibrahim.

The motion seeks clarification from the Law Minister about his remarks that he was unaware of Yong’s case and also to urge the Malaysian government to request the Singapore government to commute Yong’s death sentence. Malaysia had, in 2007, successfully sought the same for another of its national who had been sentenced to death in China (see below).

Activists and human rights lawyers in the country say the Singapore Law Minister, K Shanmugam, and its then-Attorney General, Walter Woon, may have prejudiced the clemency process,  which Yong is entitled to under Singapore’s Constitution, with their remarks in March and in April. (See here.)

In 2007, the Malaysian government pulled out all stops to save Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim, a university science graduate from a poor Malay family of rice farmers, from being hanged in China. Lazim had admitted to carrying 2.9 kilograms of heroin in her luggage when she was arrested at China’s Shantou airport in 2007.

Her death sentence was eventually commuted to life imprisonment by the Chinese authorities.

Malaysians are asking if the government is practicing racism by not doing the same for Yong – a Chinese from Sabah.

The media in Malaysia is also starting to show interest in Yong’s case, after having initially ignored him totally. Independent news portal, Malaysiakini especially, has been reporting regularly about the case.

In Singapore, the local media still shun the case completely. There have been scant reports about the issues and problems raised by Yong’s lawyer, M Ravi.

The Malaysian Parliament is scheduled to debate the motion at 10am on Monday. A press conference by M Ravi is also scheduled to be held after the sitting.

The Online Citizen will bring you exclusive reports from Kuala Lumpur on Monday.