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MPs: Double standard in sentencing Vui Kong

 | March 26, 2012

Malaysians convicted of drug crimes in Singapore are led to the hangman's noose, while citizens there are allegedly being led away.

KUALA LUMPUR: It appears that there might be double standard for those on death row in Singapore- one standard for Singaporeans on drug charges and another for Malaysians.

There have been accusations that Malaysians convicted of drug charges in Singapore are being kept on death row, while Singapore citizens there are allegedly led away from the hangman’s noose.

Sentenced to death in 2009, Sabahan drug mule Yong Vui Kong’s supporters have been appealing to the Singaporean courts for him to be let off the death penalty, but with little success.

Meanwhile, Yong’s two Singaporean associates – including a syndicate “mastermind”- have been allegedly taken off death row.

Revealing this to reporters in Parliament, Save Vui Kong Campaign (SKVC) coordinator Ngeow Chow Ying said: “This is discrimination of nationality, because they are Singaporeans and they have escaped that (death row), whereas Malaysians have no chance against it.”

She was accompanied by Lembah Pantai MP (PKR) Nurul Izzah Anwar, Bukit Bendera MP (DAP) Liew Chin Tong and Tawau MP (SAPP) Chua Boon Sui.

Yong was arrested by Singaporean authorities in 2007 (then aged 18) for drug trafficking, and subsequently sentenced to death.

Ngoew alleged that depositions and testimonies made during Yong’s trial had showed that two more Singaporeans were involved.

Ngeow said however, that Singaporeans Chia Choon Leng, the alleged drug trafficking mastermind, and Koh Bak Kiang, a drug mule, were also involved but received better treatment.

Though initially charged with 26 counts of offences – including starting drug trafficking activities – all the charges were later withdrawn by the prosecution. Ngeow added that five of these 26 counts directly involved Yong.

She also pointed out that Bak Kiang who “on the same account” was charged and prosecuted for trafficking in not less than 14.99 grams of the drugs he was carrying. The limit, triggering the mandatory death sentence, is 15 grams.

Koh, who pleaded guilty to transporting 14.99 grams of diamorphine, escaped the mandatory death penalty for transporting 15 grams or more of the drug, and is serving a prison term.

Yong who was caught with 47.27 grams of the same drug was sentenced to death by the republic’s court.

Leniency for other nationals

Ngoew is alleging that there is a bias on how the prosecution dealt so severely with Yong but alleged the two locals were afforded leniency.

The two Singaporeans were not the only ones involved in drug crimes who were let off death row.

In 2002, German citizen Julia Suzanne Bohl was found with 687 grams of marijuana, 187 grams above the death sentence limit. She was sentenced to five years in jail after her government intervened, and was promptly freed after two.

Though in support of Yong, Opposition MPs present stopped short of saying if Singapore was actively discriminating against Malaysians on death row .

PKR MP Nurul said: “The fact that there’s a precedence means that it can happen. What we’re asking for is for the Malaysian government is to exhaust all efforts (over Yong).”

“The least it can do is safeguard the safety of all Malaysians abroad,” she said.

Ngeow also alleged that Malaysia, particular its High Commission in Singapore, did not appear to treat Yong’s case with any urgency.

“As far as I know, there was not much support for Yong’s case. (His lawyer) M Ravi has gone to the High Commission many times before they actually went to prison to visit him,” she said.

She added that the least Malaysia could do for its citizens convicted overseas was to make sure that they got a fair trial.


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