Silence on Yong’s coming execution in S’pore
June 15, 2010, 12:12 am
Filed under: News Articles, Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign

Source: Malaysiakini

Jun 14, 10 3:29pm

Malaysia appears to be painfully silent on the coming execution of Yong Vui Kong, a 22 year old Malaysian, in Singapore for trafficking in 47g of heroin into the country three years ago.

Yong’s Singaporean lawyer, M Ravi, who was in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, told Malaysiakini he was in town to seek help from the public to show the Singapore government that Malaysians cannot tolerate Yong’s execution or the death penalty. (pictured with his mother) was only 19 when arrested in 2007, outside the Meritus Mandarin Hotel in Singapore.

He was convicted on Nov 14 last year for drug trafficking and sentenced to death, which should have taken place on Dec 4.

However, Ravi, a prominent human rights lawyer, filed for a stay of execution on Dec 1, making it the first such case to be halted in the country.

When contacted, Ravi said he was aware why the country across the causeway did not find it necessary to highlight Yong’s case.

“Probably because he presents no political mileage, he is first of all a (Malaysian) Chinese and a Sabahan,” said Ravi in a telephone interview.

“But Malaysia can help by bringing the case to the International Court of Justice to determine whether Singapore’s conduct constitutes a violation of both local and international laws and further seek a judgement,” he added.

Tantamount to cruelty

Ravi said that the mandatory death sentence in any country is tantamount to cruelty and violates international standards and human rights law.

In Asia, apart from Singapore, only two other countries execute those who are found guilty of trafficking drugs – Malaysia and Thailand.

However, despite Yong’s petition for clemency, Singapore Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong ruled on May 14 that Yong must go to the gallows.

“It is all wrong because even a senior cabinet minister has said he should be hanged even before he has presented his petition,” said Ravi.

According to Article 22 (p) of the Singapore Constitution, a petition is submitted to the president who then makes his decision on the clemency or mercy petition.

Clemency petition rejected

President SR Nathan rejected the clemency petition last December.

Think Centre, a human rights NGO is Singapore, said the Court of Appeal has acknowledged that the mandatory death sentence is a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment in other countries.

“But since Singapore’s constitution does not provide for a prohibition against cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment, the legal system here seems extremely inhumane,” said its executive director, Samydorai Sinnappan.

Meanwhile, activist Rachel Zeng, who has met Yong’s family, said this was indeed one of the “saddest” cases in Singapore.

“I hope everything goes well with his appeal, we will do what we can to campaign along with the appeal,” she added when contacted.

Zeng said Yong was permitted to see his mother through a glass panel in December last year, whereupon seeing the latter, he knelt down and bowed to her three times.

“It was really emotional as they have not seen each other for three years,” said Zeng, who related the experience in her blog.

“They (Yong’s family) did not tell her that her son is on death row in order to minimise the blow due to her condition,” added Zeng.

Zeng said she does not understand why the Singapore government and the Attorney-General’s Chambers seem to be in a hurry to execute Yong.

“I also learnt just last Friday that there was another execution of a young man from Sabah (at the end of November last year).

“Yong knew the young man as they were on death row together. It was a drug-related case as well,” she added.


7 Comments so far
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I wouldn’t say its just a matter of Malaysia not having ‘political mileage’ in wanting to pursue this matter. If they were to speak against this instance, that would open them to critique by singapore when malaysia sentence others similarly.

I would say that the government halting the execution for a bit was not because they were seriously considering reversing their decision to strangle Vui Kong to death, but just to show that they have ‘considered’ before sticking to their earlier decision without significant argument – come to think of it, it’s not dissimilar to talking to the general chinese population about anything out of their sphere of interest.

My heart really goes out to Vui Kong and it’s most certainly depressing. But i suppose, the reason why it can go on is, in part, due to the chinese population being more inclined to moan the passing of MJ, ‘zouking out’, or standing up for the right to get frisky with their same-sex neighbour than to fight, generally, against all instances of affronts to the rights of humanity. Self-absorption is culture in singapore. And the people, along with ‘oppositional’ bodies, tend to behave like chinese triads and just bother about their own interests.

Well, that’s the legalist-confucian state for you. Have you ever heard the dictum, ‘every people deserve the government they get’? Well, in singapore, the people are far from deserving a true alternative for want of the collective and mutual empathy required to produce and support such alternatives. Pathetic situation isn’t it Rachel.

Comment by ed

Hi ed, been reading your views online for a while now. On this matter you’ve written above, your observations are interesting but really, what are you doing about it? Are you doing anything to change the state of affairs, because all I see if you criticizing everyone who is actually trying to do something.

On a related note, you write so much about socialism and communism, why don’t you start a leftist organisation or collective in Singapore? I’m sure the ISD would be very interested in your project. Or are you just going to sit back and find the liberty to say such things while sitting there in UK, while bitching about how everyone else isn’t doing it “the right way” in Singapore?

Come and show us how its done, then. Or maybe you’ll just do the usual going on the defensive and write a scathing blogpost based on my comment. Ouch it hurts so much 😉

Comment by eddy

Eddy you are an idiot. At least the lady is making the effort. As we all know that the death penalty is mandatory in Singapore for drug trafficking. The judge has no alternative but to give the death sentence. What the govt needs to do is to provide a life term alternate as well and that way a judge can decide if the convicted person gets the death or life sentence.
So go back to your hole you dumb wit and maybe grow some balls to take a swipe at the Singapore goverment.

Comment by Chloe Deschamp

Hey Chloe, I think you’ve got me wrong. My comment was aimed at the person called “Ed” who commented just before me.

I think you mistook me calling Rachel “ed” as in “editor”. No I was refering to the comment made by “Ed”.

Comment by Eddy

[…] – Rachel Zeng: Yong Vui Kong finally catches Malaysian media’s attention – Rachel Zeng: Silence on Yong’s coming execution in S’pore – funny little world: Fighting for a life. – TOC: Media’s silence on Yong Vui Kong a national […]

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