Breaking News: Vui Kong’s family pleads at Istana

Andrew Loh (Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 24, 2010)

The family of Yong Vui Kong has been working hard these past two months – hitting the streets in both Singapore and Malaysia to collect signatures for a petition begging President SR Nathan to spare Vui Kong’s life.

Activists in Malaysia have rallied to their cause.  By 10 am this morning, the campaign had collected a total of 109 346 signatures.  Among those who signed were 44 Members of Parliament and 15 senators in Malaysia.

Vui Kong’s father and six siblings delivered the petition and signatures to the Istana earlier today. They were accompanied by Sabah MP Datuk Chua Soon Bui, some close relatives, as well as lawyers M Ravi and Ngeow Chow Ying.

The family was not able to hand the petition to guards at the front gates of the Istana and had to use an alternative entrance 15 minutes away. The group walked uphill, in the blazing heat to this other gate where they were met by Security Officer, Corporal Marcus Chong. He took the files of signatures and told the family, “You may leave now.”

Vui Kong’s father, Mr Yong Kwong Keong, had prepared a personal message for President Nathan. Corporal Chong was asked to help pass this on but declined to do so, instead asking repeatedly for the family to vacate the area.

Mr Yong broke down in tears and the family knelt down in front of the gates.  They remained there for several minutes before guards ordered them to leave.

At a press conference held later, Mr Ravi expressed disappointment over how the Yong family was treated at the Istana . “We are also faced with the unfortunate circumstance that we have to go to the Istana,” he said, “even though the courts have said that the President has no power.”

Datuk Chua urged President Nathan and the Cabinet to give Vui Kong’s case due consideration before making a final decision. She also questioned a decision by prison authorities to deny her request to visit Vui Kong on Monday. The Online Citizen understands two of his aunts were also denied access, although a cousin was granted entry.

“I feel the authorities should be more human,” Datuk Chua said. “This case is a special case. We don’t know how long before [Vui Kong’s] life is terminated. The family members and I came here just to see Vui Kong. We feel this is not too much to ask.”

The deadline for Vui Kong to submit his clemency appeal to the President is Thursday, 26 August.

However, when handing down his decision on Mr Ravi’s application for a judicial review of the clemency process, Justice Steven Chong had “invited” the Singapore Prison Service to extend the stay of execution as he said he expected Mr Ravi to appeal his judgement.

Mr Ravi has requested confirmation of the extension from the Prison Service, however, as of Tuesday, 24 August, he has yet to receive a response.

Vui Kong was arrested in June, 2007. He was 18 and a half years old then. The Singapore courts subsequently sentenced him to death for trafficking 47g of heroin into Singapore. He was originally scheduled to hang on 4 December last year, but since then, his lawyer, M Ravi, has managed to obtain two stays of executions.

In the past few weeks, the Yong family, as well as campaigners in both Malaysia and Singapore have worked round the clock, organising public forums and collecting signatures online and on the streets, to appeal to President Nathan to spare Vui Kong’s life.

Several non-governmental organisations are backing the campaign. These included the Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers For Liberty, Amnesty Hong Kong and the Singapore Anti-death Penalty Campaign.

The Malaysian government added its voice to the call for clemency when it sent a letter of appeal to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 29. The Singapore government however has yet to respond to the letter. A spokesman for the ministry told the media that “[the] letter of appeal has been referred to the legal authorities.”

The campaign to save Vui Kong does not end today. “We will continue to collect signatures until the President makes a decision,” said Ms Ngeow.

“As long as there’s time, even if there’s just one second left,” said Yun Leong, “we will all still work hard for Vui Kong.”

Members of the public who wish to sign the petition may do so online here.

到新国总统府交宽赦陈情书
杨伟光家属激动下跪求接见

李永杰 2010年8月24日下午 5点15分(当今大马)

杨伟光家属今日到新加坡总统府递交陈情书,要求总统纳丹赦免杨伟光。过程中,为了争取总统亲自接见,家属更激动在总统府前下跪。

NONE杨伟光律师饶兆颖接受《当今大马》电访时表示,杨伟光家属今天早上10点抵达新加坡总统府正门,希望给总统递交陈情书。唯总统府警卫却要求他们转到位于加文纳路的侧门。

杨家接着步行15分钟到侧门,而总统府警卫主任已在门口等候,接领家属带去的7万6516份纸本联署信函,以及大马44名国会议员和15名上议员的信函。

警卫拒绝让家属会见总统

这些警卫迫不及待地完成递交程序,并开始驱离家属,无视杨伟光家属要求亲自会见总统的要求。

NONE饶兆颖指出,杨伟光父亲杨广强和哥哥分别撰写两份私人信函,希望能亲自交到总统纳丹的手上,并且当面向他求情。

“杨伟光父亲和哥哥只是要求见总统纳丹一分钟,但是警卫却不断地赶我们。”

总统府官员坚决不接受他们的要求,并开始不断要求家属离去。不甘被驱赶,家属激动地集体下跪,希望总统能够考虑接见。但他们始终还是吃了闭门羹。

斗湖国会议员蔡顺梅同行

饶兆颖指出,今天出席这项活动的家属包括杨伟光父亲、大姐杨玉英、大哥杨运生、二姐杨玉珠、二哥杨玉良、三哥杨玉忠、妹妹杨伟风、大伯和大伯娘,表哥和表嫂,共11人。

NONE此外,除了饶兆颖外,新加坡籍律师拉维和沙巴斗湖国会议员蔡顺梅也陪同他们。

蔡顺梅通过手机短讯指出,家属当时情绪十分激动,因为警卫拒绝让他们会见总统。

她补充说,她曾介入为杨伟光家属争取会见总统,但总统府警卫主任反而要求她协助驱散众人。经过5分钟的跪求不果后,他们一行人唯有离去。

下午将到监狱探望杨伟光

另外,饶兆颖指出,杨伟光家属这次到新加坡除了给总统呈交陈情书外,另一个重要的目的就在于会见杨伟光,因此他们下午将到樟宜监狱探望杨伟光。

宽赦杨伟光签名运动在前天(23日)突破10万大关,截至当天下午5点,杨伟光后援会获得总共107952个签名,其中31455个来自网上签名、43466个来自沙巴、32719个来自大马半岛,以及312个来自新加坡。

该运动至今也获得至少44名国会议员及15名上议员的签名。

饶兆颖指出,声援联署信函是总统考虑宽赦的基础之一。

她也补充说,任何有兴趣联署的人士如今还可以到网上签名,而家属昨天到新加坡后更没有停止争取联署,仍积极向新加坡民众收集签名。

联署签名今天再冲破11万

NONE另一方面,杨伟光后援会今天下午发表文告指出,杨伟光的直系亲属已到樟宜监狱探望杨伟光。不过,除了代表律师拉维之外,随行的沙巴斗湖国会议员蔡顺梅和饶兆颖却遭狱方拒绝。

它也透露,继昨日突破10万大关后,截至24日(二)下午5时,声援联署今天再破11万关卡。

“杨伟光后援会获得总共111331签名,其中33837来自网上签名、43466来自沙巴、33716来自大马半岛,以及312来自新加坡。”

它衷心感谢社会各界对签名运动的鼎力支持,促成第一波的签名运动达到预期目标。

“至于接下来的第二波行动,我们将在近日内对外公布。”

为 方便整理工作顺利进行,该会吁请尚未签名的公众:尽速上网(www.petitiononline.com/SaveVK/petition.html) 签名;或将签名运动表格寄到隆雪华堂,地址是:1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur。

图片来源:新加坡《公民连线》(The Online Citizen)面子书 和《光华日报》。

======================

Related reports:

The Strait-Times: Petition delivered to Istana

星洲日报 : 呈逾10万人签名求宽赦‧杨伟光家人跪总统府

南洋商报: 提交联署信函·求见总统被拒 杨伟光家属跪总统府

东方日报:楊偉光家人呈書跪求見納丹

About givelife2ndchance

Give Life 2nd Chance is a movement dedicated to work on abolish death penalty in Malaysia.
This entry was posted in News Reports and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s