PETALING JAYA: De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pic) has denied interfering with the Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision to stay the execution of P. Pannir Selvam, a Malaysian citizen convicted of a drug charge.
Liew, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said “a certain quarter” in Singapore – whom he did not identify – had made serious allegations against him about the matter in the past few days.
“The allegation that I have interfered with their judicial system is totally unfounded and baseless. It’s purely a figment of someone’s imagination,” he said yesterday.
Liew said he wanted to place the narrative of events in a correct perspective to avoid further confusion and unnecessary innuendos from some people.
Pannir, 32, was convicted in 2017 of trafficking 51.84g of diamorphine or heroin at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Sept 3, 2014, and was sentenced to death by hanging.
Singapore President Halimah Yacob later rejected a clemency appeal from his family.
Pannir then filed an application for a stay of execution before the Singapore Court of Appeal on May 22, two days before he was due to be executed in Changi Prison.
The court, after hearing submissions from Pannir’s lawyer the next day, granted a stay of execution.
Liew said he was notified on Monday about the impending execution by rights group Lawyers for Liberty.
At about the same time, Pannir’s family issued a press release urging Liew and the Malaysian government to look into the matter.
Liew said he managed to speak to Singapore’s Senior Minister in the Ministry of State for Law on Wednesday afternoon.
“As time was pressing, I sought our Foreign Minister’s blessings to communicate with the Singapore government and to write an email to them where I made a representation based on valid legal grounds,” he said.
On Friday – a day after the Singapore Court of Appeal decision – Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was reported saying that Singapore could not make exceptions for Malaysians sentenced to death for their offences as it would undermine the rule of law in the republic.
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