Today (19 Jan 2012) is Yong Vui Kong’s 24th birthday. Last year, we marked Vui Kong’s 23rd birthday not knowing if he would live to celebrate another. However, thanks to his dedicated lawyers and the support of activists and the public, he can now live to see the dawn this Friday.
We are inviting the public to celebrate his birthday with him this year. Please write your wishes, thoughts and hopes for him and e-mail the messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will deliver them to Vui Kong through his lawyer M Ravi. If you permit, we will publish the wishes in our blog at https://2ndchance4yong.wordpress.com/
Yong Vui Kong, who hails from Sabah, was arrested in June 2007 for trafficking 47.27g of diamorphine in Singapore when he was 18. He was sentenced to death in January 2009 and now sits on death row. He has exhausted all legal proceedings and is presently awaiting the outcome of his final appeal for clemency which he submitted on 7 July last year to the President of Singapore.
Vui Kong had been born to an impoverished and broken family with his mother struggling to raise seven children alone after a divorce. His case caught a lot of attention in Malaysia, Singapore and internationally. The Save Vui Kong Campaign initiated the “Give Life 2nd Chance” campaign in July 2010 and the public responded well to Vui Kong’s plea for clemency. In August 2010, his family submitted 109,346 petition signatures to the Istana asking for Vui Kong’s death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment.
Vui Kong has proven himself in prison by turning over a new leaf. He has repented and is remorseful. He has taken up Buddhism, and seeks to dedicate the rest of his life to counseling prisoners and alerting the public about the perils of drugs. Although the Singapore Court of Appeal has rejected the decision on his judicial review in April 2011, we will continue to do our very best to assist Vui Kong in seeking pardon from the Singapore President.
Pleading for his clemency does not mean that Vui Kong should escape the responsibility of the crime. However, Vui Kong is himself a victim of circumstances, and we strongly believe that we should not ignore the plight of the marginalized.
This is only the beginning of the debate on the death penalty. Research has shown that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. There are many factors in the maintenance of public order. For example, professional police investigations and fair judicial system are crucial.
We also call the Malaysia Government to execute the resolution put forward in the Round Table Discussion at the Parliament last June 2011 to:
- Call for moratorium of the death penalty immediately
- Form a caucus to study and review the related legislative related to the mandatory death penalty.
The Save Vui Kong Campaign is refining its role and has formed a coalition with other organisations working on anti-death penalty issues. Besides giving attention to individual cases, we will also actively advocate the moratorium of the death penalty in Malaysia. We hope the collaboration will spawn various activities to educate and raise the awareness of the general public about capital punishment.
Save Vui Kong Campaign
Sabahan on Singapore’s death row turns 24 today (The Borneo Post)
吁民写生日寄语予杨伟光 后援会促政府检讨死刑制 (獨立新聞在線）
后援会邀民众祝贺24岁生日 杨伟光感言：要令母亲骄傲 （當今大馬）