PETALING JAYA - Death row inmate Yong Vui Kong turned vegetarian and found religion again while waiting for the day he would be taken to the gallows.
His prayers were answered when, thanks to a change in law, his death sentence was commuted and he was jailed for life instead with 15 strokes of the cane imposed.
When High Court Judge Choo Han Teck announced the decision yesterday, the Sabahan fell to his knees and bowed before the judge.
Life imprisonment in Singapore is 20 years and Yong has already spent some seven years in custody.
Three previous appeals to overturn the judgment had been earlier rejected, while an appeal for presidential clemency was also denied.
Last year, however, the Singapore government announced changes to the mandatory death penalty, allowing death row inmates to be given a lighter sentence if they meet certain conditions.
In a written submission, state prosecutors vouched for Yong's cooperation in "disrupting drug trafficking activities within and outside Singapore", while the Judge ascertained that he was just a courier, AFP reported.
Since being imprisoned, Yong had taken up Buddhism and a new name, Nan Di Li, from the Buddhist Dharma.
His lawyer M. Ravi said the Malaysian "had seen the error of his ways and has repented".