Save Malaysians on death row elsewhere too, says rights group

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today urged Putrajaya to now focus on helping Malaysians on death row in foreign countries, following reports that a bill to abolish the death penalty will likely be tabled soon.

LFL adviser N Surendran said having rejected the death penalty in Malaysia, the government had “the moral authority to fight for the lives of citizens abroad”.

“The death penalty is abhorrent, and we must try and save our countrymen and women from judicial murder abroad.

“This must become an important goal and priority of the foreign ministry, and the government as a whole. Let us show the world that for Malaysians, all life has great value,” the former Padang Serai MP said in a statement.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong revealed that the bill would likely be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, which begins on Monday.

Surendran claimed there were currently “hundreds of Malaysians” on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

A large number of Malaysians, he said, were awaiting execution in Singapore, mainly for drug offences.

He gave the example of S Prabagaran, who was accused of being a drug mule and hanged in Changi prison.

He said the previous Barisan Nasional administration had done nothing to save him despite assurances from then-deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.

He maintained his innocence, claiming that he did not own the car he drove and was not aware of the drugs being in it.

He was executed in July last year.