KUALA LUMPUR: Several senators and NGOs today urged Singapore authorities to spare the life of Yong Vui Kong, a Sabahan youth convicted of drug trafficking.
The senators and NGO representatives gathered in the Parliament lobby today to demonstrate their support for Yong’s clemency petition to the Singapore president.
Yong, 18, was sentenced to death in January last year for trafficking in 47 grammes of diamorphine, a derivative of heroin. He was to have been executed last December, but he filed an appeal against the sentence on the ground that the death penalty was inhumane. The appeal was rejected last May.
The senators are concerned that the Singapore government had apparently already decided to reject his plea for a pardon even before it is filed.
Yong’s lawyer, M Ravi, who recently brought Yong’s plight to the attention of MPs and senators, said Singapore’s law minister K Shanmugam had prejudiced his client’s appeal for clemency with his statement that Singapore would be giving the wrong signal to potential drug traffickers if Yong was spared.
“Yong Vui Kong is young,” Ravi quoted Shanmugam as saying. “But if we say, 'We let you go,' what is the signal we are sending?”
Tunku Aziz condemned the statement. "It should not be about sending the right message,” he said.
Petaling Jaya municipal councillor Richard Yeoh, who was also in the Parliament gathering, said Yong deserved a second chance. He said the young man was “a victim of the syndicates” and was acting as a drug mule.
It emerged during the trial that Yong is the product of a broken home who began his life in crime at the age of 15. He sold pirated VCDs and then got involved with secret societies.
Early this month, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said his ministry would write to the Singapore government to plead for clemency on Yong’s behalf.
"In the past 12 years, not a single case carrying the death penalty has been awarded a pardon," Yeoh said. "What does this say about them?”
"We are not saying that there has been a miscarriage of justice," said Tunku Aziz. "However, in the appeal for clemency, all circumstances should be considered."
Singapore: M'sia yet to plead clemency for drug mule
Local man in Singapore death row gets govt support