That’s not the way we work, Singapore tells Malaysia over clemency pleas

Singapore’s Changi prison. The Singaporean government says a growing number of Malaysians have been caught for drug trafficking in the city state. (AFP pic)

PETALING JAYA: Singapore today said it is impossible to grant clemency for Malaysians on death row in the city-state, citing the growing number of Malaysians caught for drug trafficking.

This comes after a court granted a stay of execution on Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, a Malaysian who was sentenced to death in 2017 for drug trafficking in 2014, on the back of appeals from Putrajaya for the republic to spare him from the gallows.

The republic’s home affairs minister K Shanmugam said while Singapore respects the Pakatan Harapan government’s stand against the death sentence, Singapore has its own legal process.

“Because there’s a request made, we release him? That’s not the way Singapore works,” he was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

He said almost 30% of drug traffickers caught in Singapore were Malaysians, with about 30% of seized heroin also brought in by Malaysians.

“How can we go easy on Malaysians in the face of these statistics? And if we did, what would it mean for the rule of law? It would become a joke.”

Yesterday, Singapore’s Court of Appeal granted Pannir a stay of execution so that he could challenge the clemency process.

Pannir was scheduled to be executed at dawn today at the Changi prison in Singapore.

Shanmugam said the government would not intervene in such cases, adding that Singaporeans were supportive of the death penalty.