Malaysian in Singapore death row spends time reading Buddhist scriptures

The Borneo Post, August 27, 2010

KOTA KINABALU, Sabah (Malaysia) -- Sabahan Yong Vui Kong who is on death row in Singapore, is spending his time reading Buddhist scriptures as his appeal for clemency to the republic’s president to spare his life lies in a balance.

Vui Kong’s elder brother Vui Leong said his younger sibling found focusing on his religion a comfort.

“My brother always asks for Buddhist books. He passes time reading them,” Vui Leong said when contacted in the island republic yesterday.

He said 22-year-old Vui Kong had become a vegetarian and was sporting close cropped hair.

“The message he wanted to pass on was that drugs are dangerous,” said Vui Leong who is in Singapore with their father Yong Kwong Keong, youngest sister Vui Fung, as well as several uncles, aunts and cousins.

He said the family was grateful that they were allowed to spend an hour a day with Vui Kong for the past three days.

Vui Kong, the fifth child in a family of six siblings, was only 18 when he was arrested in Singapore on June 13, 2007 for trafficking 47.27 grams of diamorphine.

He was convicted of the offence and sentenced to death by the Singapore High Court on January 7, 2009. His execution was supposed to have been carried out on Tuesday.

Vui Kong was supposed to be sent to the gallows anytime after August 26 but on Wednesday, Singapore human rights lawyer M Ravi and Malaysian lawyer Ngeow Chow Ying managed to get an extension of Vui Kong’s deadline to submit his clemency to the Singapore president.

Ravi was quoted by a local newspaper as saying that the deadline for the clemency had been extended to a date to be confirmed later.

Vui Leong said yesterday his family were grateful for the extension as “any second we have with Vui Kong is precious to us.”

On Tuesday, Yong’s family members delivered a petition and signatures to the Singapore President at the Istana, begging for his clemency.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said that the government had sent a letter of clemency to the Foreign Minister of Singapore and would leave it to them to decide on the matter.

The Malaysian Chinese Association Youth has also sent a letter to Singapore President S.R. Nathan, appealing for clemency to spare the life of Vui Kong.