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Dr M on Malaysian to be executed in Singapore: Some feel death sentence is too harsh

The Star Online logo The Star Online 20/3/2019

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government is trying to save a Malaysian from being sent to the gallows in Singapore because some Malaysians view the death sentence as too harsh a punishment, says the Prime Minister.

"Yes, we're trying to save his life as we know that people view death sentence as too harsh. We hope that other countries will take the same stand.

"So, we are sad because the punishment of hanging should have been replaced by other punishments, just like what we are doing on certain cases," Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told a press conference at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (March 20).

On Tuesday (March 19), de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the government would submit a letter to Singapore urging it to commute the death sentence of a Malaysian man who is scheduled to be executed this Friday (March 22).

Michael Garing of Kapit, Sarwak was convicted of murder in 2015 by the Singapore high court and its court of appeal affirmed the conviction in 2017.

Earlier this week, Lawyers for Liberty adviser N. Surendran said Michael's family had only been given eight days notice of the imminent execution and they were told to make the "necessary funeral arrangements".

Michael and another Sarawakian, Tony Imba, were part of a gang that went on a robbery spree, severely injuring three victims and killing a fourth man in 2010.

The pair had attacked and robbed the four men in the Kallang area from late in the night of May 29, 2010 until the early hours of the next day.

Tony was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the robbery.

Surendran said Michael was only 21 years old when he committed the crime and while he must face punishment for the serious crime, he should also be given an opportunity for rehabilitation.

Last October, the Malaysian Cabinet made the decision to abolish the mandatory death sentence, but has backtracked after a backlash from some quarters.

The government, however, has abolished the mandatory death penalty for 11 offences, and has instead proposed to give discretionary powers to the courts in commuting sentences for these.

Nine offences fall under the Penal Code and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971.

The nine offences under the Penal Code are Section 121 A (Offences against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri); Section 130 C (Committing terrorist acts); Section 130 I (Directing activities of terrorists groups); Section 130N (Providing or collecting property for terrorist acts); Section 130 O (Providing services for terrorist purposes); Section 130 QA (Accepting gratification to facilitate or enable terrorists acts); Section 130 ZB (Accepting gratification to facilitate or enable organised criminal activity); Section 302 (Punishment for murder) and Section 374A (hostage-taking).

The two offences under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act are Section 3 (Penalty for discharging a firearm in the commission of a scheduled offence) and Section 3A (Penalty for accomplices in case of discharge of firearm).

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