Liew: I did not interfere with Singapore’s judicial system

Liew: I did not interfere with Singapore’s judicial system

PUCHONG: Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong denied claims that he had tried to interfere with the Singaporean judiciary over the death sentence meted out on Pannir Selvam Pranthaman.

In a statement, Liew said he made representation to the Singaporean government last Wed on valid legal grounds and had conveyed the message to Singapore’s Senior Minister in the Ministry of Law.

“The allegation that I have interfered with their judicial system is totally unfounded and baseless. It’s purely a figment of imagination on someone’s part,” he said.

Last week, the Singapore Court of Appeal granted a stay of execution for Pannir, was convicted of drug trafficking in the island state in June 2017. The conviction carried the death penalty.

Pannir’s family had sent many appeals against the sentence, including an appeal to Singapore President Halimah Yaacob but was unsuccessful.

Unhappy with the stay of execution, Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said it was untenable for the island republic to make exceptions for Malaysians convicted for death sentence in the country.

He also said that the death penalty is imposed in Singapore because evidence shows that it is an effective deterrent and claimed that Singaporeans are supportive of it.

However, Shanmugam received brickbats for his comments from Lawyers for Liberty. The latter even challenged the former to show proof that Singaporeans support death penalty.

Liew said that Pannir had applied for a stay of his execution last Wed by challenging the prosecution’s rejection of a certificate of assistance on Pannir’s claim of helping the Singaporean police to resolve a drug case.

The certificate would have enabled the court to sentence Pannir to life imprisonment instead of death.

“Although I have not read the grounds of decision of the Singapore’s Court of Appeal, what’s obvious is that the Singaporean court made its decision by having considered the prevailing circumstances and the rule of law applicable to the case.

“It is therefore equally untenable to allege that there’s an interference on my part to their judicial process. Malaysians respect the decision of the Singapore’s Court,” said Liew.

He also said that the Singaporean court had only granted Pannir a temporary stay, in order to allow him to exhaust all legal means to get a reprieve.

“It is an absolute abhorrent to justice if he is denied such basic rights and get executed without being heard,” said Liew.