Government should be prepared to take Yong’s case to ICJ

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 7, 2010) : The government has been urged to go all the way to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if necessary, to save the life of convicted drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong in Singapore.

The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) which full supports the Save Vui Kong campaign on both compassionate and legal grounds, today called on the government to take the violation of his right to clemency by Singapore Law Minister to the ICJ, if necessary.

“As a matter of principle, the Government must fully back Yong Vui Kong’s right as a citizen even though he is a convict,” said KLSCAH president Tan Yew Sing.

“Even he made his clemency plea to the Singapore President, Singapore Law Minister, Mr K Shumugan, had made a statement in May that Yong cannot be pardoned. Such pre-judgement has violated Yong’s right to seek clemency under the Singapore Constitution and is against the principle of natural justice,” Tan said.

He lauded the pledge by Foreign Minsiter Datuk Seri Anifah Aman on July 5 that Malaysian government “will do everything possible within its power” to seek clemency for Yong.

“We trust that “everything possible” includes the preparation of the Malaysia government to file a complaint to ICJ on the violation of Yong’s right to clemency plea,” he said.

Tan added that to signal Malaysia’s political will to defend Yong, the Foreign Ministry should send its legal experts to follow Yong’s application for judicial review on the presidential power to grant clemency.

He urged Anifah to give urgent attention to the matter as the deadline for Yong’s clemency plea – his last avenue should his application for the judicial review be rejected — is Aug 26, 2010.

Tan said Yong was only 18 when caught trafficking drugs to Singapore.

“Coming from a broken family and virtually illiterate, he was forced to find job in Kuala Lumpur to support his mother who earned RM 200 a month as a dish-washer and survived on two RM1 meals per day,” he said, adding that his future was denied by poverty and lack of education.

Tan added that now fully repentant of his past sins, the 22-year-old Yong is only asking for a second chance for redemption.

“He only wants to share his life lesson with others from similar marginalized background so that they will not replicate his mistakes,” he added.

KLSCAH also appealed the Singapore Government to exercise wisdom and compassion, adding that pardoning Yong will only help and not harm Singapore’s anti-drug and anti-crime policy.