At a press conference inside the Malaysian Houses of Parliament today, human rights activist and lawyer for Yong Vui Kong Madasamy Ravi urged the Malaysian Parliament to take Yong Vui Kong’s case to the International Court of Justice.
Together with him were Malaysian MPs Nurul Azziza, Datok Chua Soon Bui (MP for Sabah) and Tian Chua.
In a press statement, Mr Ravi wrote that Yong “did not receive a fair trial given the fact that Chief Justice was in conflict of interest in proceeding to hear the case, despite a valid application to recuse him from hearing the case.”
Yong suffered the “the greatest injustice as a result.”
According to Mr Ravi, this would be his “final attempt” to save Yong. He also claimed that there seemed to be quite alot of support amongst the members of Parliament in Malaysia.
Yong was sentenced to death in 2009 for drug trafficking in Singapore. He was 19 at the time of his arrest in 2007.
(The full press release can be read below)
To: Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Anifah Hj Aman, Foreign Minister of Malaysia
Re: Malaysian sentenced to death in Singapore – Yong Vui Kong
Date: 15th June 2011
We wish to bring to your attention the case of Yong Vui Kong.
Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian citizen sentenced to death in Singapore for drug trafficking.Yong has exhausted his appeal and his sentence was upheld. Subsequent to the appeal,Yong is to file a petition for clemency to the President.
However, before Yong file such petition, the Law Minster had uttered the words that “Yong Vui Kong, he is young, but if we let him go, what is the signal we aresending?”
Yong’s lawyer filed an application for judicial review on the grounds that this statement had pre-judged and prejudiced Yong’s clemency petition, taking into account that the then Attorney General, Mr Walter Woon has confirmed in court that though the prerogative power lies with the President, it is actually the cabinet that decides. The High Court dismissed this application. Yong appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
At the hearing of the Court of Appeal, Yong’s lawyer made an application on 4th April 2011 for the Chief Justice, Mr Chan Sek Keong, to recuse/disqualify himself from hearing the appeal, premised on the grounds that:
-(a) this application, inter alia, requests the court to decide on whether the Presidentmust act on the advise of the cabinet on the matters relating to the President’s prerogative power on clemency;
(b) the Chief Justice who was the Attorney-General from 1992 to 2006, was in the position to advise and ought to have advised the President and/or the cabinetrelating to the President’s prerogative power on clemency during such period;
(c)thus there is a conflict of interest when the Chief Justice is to now decide on the matter which he had and/or ought to have advised the President and/or the cabinet about the clemency powers of the President
The Court of Appeal dismissed this application. It was recorded then that since the Court of Appeal is the apex court in Singapore, Yong does not have a redress to appeal on this dismissal.Yong has suffered the greatest injustice as a result. Thus Yong did not receive a fair trial given the fact that Chief Justice was in conflict of interest in proceeding to hear the case, despite a valid application to recuse him from hearing the case.
In view of this, Yong suffers a breach of customary international law in so far as a fair trial had been denied to him.
The Malaysian Government should take immediate steps to protect their citizen in a foreign land, especially when a life is at stake. Therefore, we humbly request that this matter be brought before the International Court of Justice for adjudication without further delay.
Yong Vun Leong (brother to Yong Vui Kong)
Mr M Ravi (counsel for Yong Vui Kong)
Save Vui Kong Campaign, Malaysia