Malaysia to assist in Yong’s appeal
The government has finally agreed to engage its Singapore counterpart through diplomatic channels to obtain clemency for death row prisoner Yong Vui Kong.
“We sympathise with what has transpired and we will do everything possible within our power or within diplomatic channels to solve this,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman (right).
Yong’s lawyer M Ravi had traveled from Singapore to meet the minister today alongside Batu parliamentarian Tian Chua.
“I will be writing to the government of Singapore based on the arguments they (Ravi and Chua) gave and plead for clemency… he (Yong) has one more avenue which is clemency, so we will be writing to the Singapore government soon,” said Anifah.
Yong was only 19 when arrested for trafficking 47.27g of the controlled drug diamorphine in 2007.
His execution in December last year was halted when Ravi filed for a stay pending his clemency appeal.
The case went almost unnoticed locally until last-minute attempts by Malaysian parliamentarians, lawyers and civil society groups raised the issue on various platforms to stop Yong’s execution as his clemency period ends next month.
Anifah said that they will look into the “legal basis” on why Yong should saved from the gallows.
“One is diplomacy but at the same time, I am waiting for them to give me the legal basis on why he should be spared. It’s not just from the government but it’s also from the private sector (lawyers’ side).
Asked if the government would initiate a process for Yong to undergo his sentence in Malaysia, Anifah said, “That’s not in our power, that is with Singapore. We must focus on getting clemency and we will write to the Singapore government to plead with them to give him this opportunity.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chua (right) was relieved that the government has agreed to intercede on Yong’s behalf.
Chua said that the ministry will also send a representative to hold a watching brief when the judicial review on his sentence is held.
“We are pleased that the Foreign Affairs Ministry has shown an interest in this because it is their duty to look after the safety and well-being of Malaysian traveling abroad,” he said.
Emergency motion rejected
However, earlier today Chua’s emergency motion to debate on Yong’s fate was rejected in chambers today by the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
According to him, it was denied based on technical grounds, as another member of parliament had filed a motion beforehand.
Singapore, like Malaysia, still metes out the death penalty as punishment for drugs-related charges among other offenses.
However, in 2002, German national 23-year-old Julia Susanne Bohl who was convicted for drug trafficking escaped Singapore’s gallows after investigation showed that the drug she allegedly possessed was not pure cannabis.
Govt to appeal to S’pore for clemency in Yong’s sentence
By LOH FOON FONG and JOSHUA FOONG; July 5, 2010 MYT 7:05:29 PM; Source: The Star Online
KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman said his ministry would write to the Singapore government to plead for clemency in the case of Sabahan Yong Vui Kong, who was sentenced to death last year for drug trafficking.
On when he would write to the Singapore government, Anifah said he would wait for the legal arguments to be prepared first on why Yong’s life should be spared.
“We sympathise with what had transpired and will do everything possible within our powers or diplomatic means to solve the problem,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby Monday.
Yong, 22, was convicted on Jan 7 last year after he was arrested on June 13, 2007 for trafficking 47gm of diamorphine, an offence under the Singaporean Misuse of Drugs Act.
On whether the Government would appeal for Yong to be brought back to be imprisoned here, Anifah said the focus was to get clemency first.
Meanwhile, Batu MP Tian Chua said he and his lawyers had given Anifah the case background when they met and were grateful the minister not only agreed to meet them but also brought along with him international law experts to discuss how best to help Yong.
Yong’s Singaporean lawyer M. Ravi said they would be filing for a judicial review action this week to challenge the Law Minister K. Shanmugam’s announcement that Yong would not be spared the death penalty, even before the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment and before they could file for clemency.
Ravi had brought Yong’s plight to Parliament Monday in a desperate attempt to seek help from the Malaysian government to save Yong before he was executed.
Last year, Yong filed a petition with the president for clemency but it was rejected on Dec 1.
Ravi also said the case could be taken to the International Court of Justice if all avenues were exhausted.
Yong’s Malaysian lawyer Ngeow Chow Ying said the last date for them to file for clemency was Aug 26, after which Yong could be hanged at any time.