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Group urges Sabahan's case be referred to ICJ
Published on: Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: A group of people handed a memorandum to the Special Officer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmad Nordin, in parliament on Wednesday to bring the case of Yong Vui Kong to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).The group comprised Singapore lawyer M. Ravi for condemned Sabahan Vui Kong set to hang in the republic anytime now for trafficking in drugs, lawyer for the Save Vui Kong Campaign, Ngeow Chow Ying, Sharmila Sekaran of the Voice of the Children and Tawau MP, Datuk Chua Soon Bui.

Ravi, during a press conference, urged the Malaysian Parliament to take Yong's case to the ICJ.

He said "Yong did not receive a fair trial given the fact that the Chief Justice was in conflict of interest in proceeding to hear the case despite a valid application to recuse him from hearing it."

He said Yong suffered the greatest injustice as a result.

He also said that this would be his "final attempt" to save Yong adding that there seemed to be quite a lot of support amongst Members of Parliament in Malaysia.

Yong was sentenced to death in 2009 for drug trafficking in Singapore.

He was 19 at the time of his arrest in 2007.

Ravi said at the hearing of the Court of Appeal, Yong's lawyer made an application on April 4, this year for the Chief Justice, Chan Sek Keong, to recuse/disqualify himself from hearing the appeal, on the grounds that:

(a) This application, inter alia, requests the court to decide on whether the President must act on the advice of the Cabinet on the matters relating to the President's prerogative power on clemency;

(b) The Chief Justice who was the Attorney-General from 1992 to 2006, was in the position to advise and ought to have advised the President and/or the Cabinet relating to the President's prerogative power on clemency during such period; and

(c) Thus there is conflict of interest when the Chief Justice is to now decide on the matter which he had and/or ought to have advised the President and/or the Cabinet about the clemency powers of the President.

The Court of Appeal dismissed this application. It was recorded then that since the Court of Appeal is the apex court in Singapore, Yong does not have a redress to appeal on this dismissal.

Thus, Yong did not receive a fair trial given the fact that Chief Justice was in conflict of interest in proceeding to hear the case, despite a valid application to recuse him from hearing the case, Ravi said.

"In view of this, Yong suffers a breach of customary international law in so far as a fair trial had been denied to him," he said.

He said the Malaysian Government should take immediate steps to protect their citizen in a foreign land, especially when a life is at stake.

It is for this reason, he said that the matter be brought before the International Court of Justice for adjudication without further delay.

Meanwhile, Chua said she supported the appeal to the Government and the Foreign Minister to bring the case to ICJ so that Malaysians overseas facing trial would receive a fair trial.

"We will fight till the end and make an appeal for a review of the mandatory death sentence for a moratorium," she said.

"Many people in Sabah are concerned for Yong Vui Kong's case," she said.



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