PETALING JAYA: The lawyers of a Singapore death row prisoner are disappointed with Malaysia’s high commissioner Ilango Karuppannan for stating that Putrajaya will not interfere in the case of Prabagaran Srivijayan.
Referring to Ilango’s comments, N Surendran and Latheefa Koya said Putrajaya’s decision would have a major impact on Malaysians travelling or living abroad who faced legal proceedings in foreign places.
“What he said has wider consequences. I urge Foreign Minister Anifah Aman to clarify this matter and state the government’s stand on Malaysians treated unfairly abroad, and to take all steps necessary to save Prabagaran from the gallows,” Surendran and Latheefa said in a statement released today.
Yesterday, IIango said Malaysia would not interfere in Singapore’s internal affairs in relation to a Malaysian on death row in Changi prison.
“Ilango’s statement is surprising and deeply regretted. The high commissioner must realise that speaking up for the right to a fair trial for our citizen who is facing the death penalty, does not amount to interference in Singapore’s internal affairs.
“It is the norm for countries to take up cases of their citizens who may have been treated unfairly in a foreign country’s judicial system,” the lawyers said.
Surendran, who is PKR vice-president, added that Malaysia had previously spoken up in similar cases, including the case of drug mule Yong Vui Kong whose death sentence was commuted by Singapore in 2013 after years of effort by NGOs and lawyers from both sides of the causeway.
Similarly, Prabagaran’s lawyers in both Singapore and Malaysia have argued that he was denied a fair trial.
“The high commissioner and Putrajaya must bear this in mind when taking any public stand on this matter.
“Hence, Ilango’s claim that ‘there is an attempt to put pressure to bring a particular court case here to a higher profile’ is without basis,” Surendran said, adding that Prabagaran and his family were merely exercising their right to take up legal proceedings to uphold his right to a fair trial.
Prabagaran, 30, is reportedly making a judicial review application to direct Putrajaya to start proceedings against Singapore in the International Court of Justice over his conviction for drug trafficking.
The foreign ministry and the Malaysian government were named as respondents in the application, filed at the Malaysian High Court registry in January this year.
Prabagaran was sentenced to death in September 2014 and has reportedly exhausted all appeals in the republic.