KUCHING: A petition urging for clemency for Jabing Kho, a murder convict on Singapore’s death row, could buy the Sarawakian three more months.
An initiative called We Believe in Second Chances is putting together a last bid move, getting as many people as possible to sign a petition, which will be submitted to the Singapore President Tony Tan.
“Usually from the day the petition is submitted, there is around three months before the President’s decision is announced,” said Kirsteen Han, a founding member of the group, which is also working with the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.
Han, who held a press conference with Jabing’s family members last Sunday, urged for more support from Sarawakian politicians.
Jabing’s sister, Jumai Kho, said: “We understand the hanging can be anytime. We wish to have the Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s help. Help us appeal to Singapore. Ask for a lesser penalty. Don’t have him hanged.”
Their mother Lenduk also spoke with reporters, saying “I’m truly sorry for his actions. I only have one son. I’m asking for help not to have him hanged. It’s (a) heavy (burden). I feel it, “ she said.
Leonard Shim, president of the Sarawak Advocates’ Association, lent his support. He said no one was questioning Singapore’s legal system, however, “everyone deserves a second chance”.
“We believe in second chances. Our agenda here today is also to call for an abolishment of the death penalty in Malaysia, particularly on drug related offences,” Shim said.
Jabing was convicted in May, 2011, for causing the death of a Chinese citizen, Cao Ruyin, in 2007.
In 2012, the Singapore Parliament amended the Penal Code to give judges the discretion to sentence offenders convicted under s 300(c) to life imprisonment with caning.
This change was applied retrospectively and Kho was afforded an opportunity to have his death sentence reconsidered.
On November 18, 2013, Justice Tay Yong Kwang re-sentenced Kho to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
But on January 14, 2015, the Court of Appeal, by a majority decision (with two out of the five judges dissenting) overturned Justice Tay’s decision and sentenced Kho to death.
On April 5 this year, the Court of Appeal upheld Kho’s death sentence, lifting the stay of execution that they had issued in November 2015, after Kho’s lawyer filed a criminal motion at the eleventh hour.
Jabing has now exhausted all legal avenues, leaving clemency as the only option. His defence has always insisted that Jabing did not possess the intention to kill, nor was the murder premeditated.