Family of Sarawakian on death row in Singapore pleads for clemency

(Reuters pic)

KUCHING: The family of Sarawakian Michael Garing, who is scheduled to be hanged in Singapore on Friday, still clings to hope that he will be spared.

Speaking to FMT, Michael’s uncle – who did not wish to be named – said they had been trying to appeal for Garing’s sentence on a murder charge to be commuted to life imprisonment.

“We really hope the authorities will reconsider and spare Michael from the gallows,” he said. “Michael’s father is in his 70s and works as a van driver for a living whereas his mother is in her 50s.”

He said they had been travelling regularly from Kapit to Singapore over the past eight years to follow their son’s case.

Singapore’s decision to execute Garing was criticised by Lawyers for Liberty adviser N Surendran for the short notice of eight days given to the family, who were told to make “necessary funeral arrangements”.

“This extremely short notice is disturbing and a cause for concern. It gives the family scant time to spend with Michael in his final days and to make preparations,” he said.

Garing was part of a gang involved in a robbery at an open field at Kallang Road, Singapore, in May 2010 which led to the death of a 41-year-old construction worker Shanmuganathan Dillidurai. Three others were severely injured.

On April 20, 2015, Garing was sentenced to death for the murder of Shanmuganathan while another accused, Tony Imba, was jailed for life with 24 strokes of rotan.

Another gang member, Hairee Landak, was sentenced in 2013 to 33 years’ imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane, while Donny Meluda, who went on the run for more than six years, was given a similar sentence in 2018.