KUALA LUMPUR: There was a time when Sum Ah Yoon never had an opinion about the death penalty, but that changed when his younger brother was sentenced to the gallows in January 2009.
“I am against it. My brother deserves a second chance at life,” the 60-year old retired banker said.
“Maybe one day your family member will become a victim. You never know,” he said on the sidelines of a conference and training workshop titled “Abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia and Asia Pacific” here yesterday.
Ah Yoon, who has been the main person involved in the legal processes for the case and who visits his younger brother Yat Loy in prison, says he still harbours hope that the 58-year old will be spared or even released.
He is also keen to highlight the little-known ordeal that a convict’s loved ones go through in facing his or her death sentence.
His worry is that his nieces aged 18 and 22 might lose their father, making it a double-blow after the death of their mother.
“They need their father’s love. They have already lost their mother. Now their father is behind bars,” he said.
“My brother should be given a second chance to provide his family with love.”
Yat Loy, a welder from Bentong, was sentenced to death by the High Court for murdering his wife Khee Ah Chai, then 34, in their house at Taman Cheras Perdana in Hulu Langat, Selangor, on Feb 16, 2002.
Ah Yoon said Yat Loy had gotten into an argument with his wife, something that happened frequently in the family.
“That day, the quarrel at their rented home was very heated. They threw things at each other,” he said.
“In the heat of the moment, Yat Loy murdered his wife, who was suffering from depression.
“But, it was not intentional,” he said, adding that the relationship with Yat Loy’s in-laws was good, now as they had forgiven his brother.
Appeals to the Court of Appeal and subsequently the Federal Court were filed, but they failed.
Now Yat Loy is in the Bentong prison on death row.
Ah Yoon said he himself slipped into depression, exhausted from all the work he had to do, including the filing of the various appeals and petitions.
He said he would submit a fresh letter for pardon, after having sent the last one five years ago with a public petition and relevant supporting letters to the Sultan of Selangor.
In the meantime, he would keep praying that things get better, as worrying did not help the situation, he said.