KUALA LUMPUR: The family of Kho Jabing, the Sarawakian on death row for a murder conviction, is calling on the Singapore government to show him leniency.
Jabing, who worked as a labourer in Singapore, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for the robbery-cum-murder of Chinese national Cao Ruyin in 2008.
At a press conference today, Jabing’s mother Lenduk Ak Baling, 54, said her son was a good person who rarely got angry.
“My son has never gotten involved in any fights or arguments when he was younger. His actions and the punishment came as a shock to us as he is not a bad person” said Lenduk amidst tears.
When amendments to Singapore’s mandatory death penalty came into force in 2013, Jabing was entitled to apply for re-sentencing.
His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the rotan by the Singapore High Court. However, a 3-2 decision at the Singapore Court of Appeal in January 2015, sent him back to death row.
He was scheduled to be executed on November 6 but was awarded a temporary reprieve less than 24 hours before his execution after his lawyer flied a last–minute criminal motion asking for the court to make a ruling on arguments to quash his death sentence.
The Court of Appeal has set November 23 to hear the criminal motion by his lawyer, Chandra Mohan K Nair.
Jabing’s sister, Jumai Kho, 27, issued a plea for the Malaysian and Singapore governments to help her brother as his actions were done under the influence of alcohol.
“My brother was drunk at the moment of the incident. Now, every time we go to Singapore to visit him, he tells us how regretful he is over his actions.
“Please, I beg you. Help us get my brother back. He is not a bad person. He went to Singapore to support our family and things have been really difficult since then,” said Jumai, who broke into tears.
Kirsten Han, founder of “We Believe in Second Chances”, an activist group in Singapore, said no intent to kill was ever found nor was there a clear sequence of events established.
“A death sentence is irreversible and it leaves absolutely no room for error” said Han, who urged Singapore president Tony Tan to grant Jabing clemency.
Tan had rejected a clemency petition on October 19. If he is to be granted clemency, Jabing would be the first person to achieve so in Singapore in 17 years.
Also joining in the rally for Jabing’s clemency appeal were Amnesty International Malaysia, Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Suaram and the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.