Malaysian minister lauds S'pore decision to commute death sentence

Yong Yun Leong (right) older brother of Yong Vui Kong speaks on his mobile phone outside the High Court.

KOTA KINABALU - Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is thrilled with the Singapore court decision to spare Yong Vui Kong the death sentence.

"I am really happy to hear the good news. His case is a lesson to all our youngsters to stay away from bad company and not be tempted into getting involved in drugs and other illegal activities," Anifah said yesterday.

Anifah had brought up the issue of Vui Kong with his counterparts in Singapore on several occasions but had maintained that Malaysia respected the laws of Singapore.

In Kuala Lumpur, groups which campaigned to save Yong also hailed the decision.

Amnesty International (Asia-Pacific) director Isabelle Arradon, in a statement, said the group was still concerned because it opposed the death penalty.

"Furthermore, Amnesty Interna­tional is concerned about reports that the verdict stated that Yong would receive 15 strokes of the cane," said Arradon, adding that Amnesty was strongly opposed to judicial caning.

A brief message was also posted on the "Save Vui Kong" Facebook page.

"Good news that Vui Kong is now off death row, but we are troubled by the caning.

"Thanks everyone who supported us in this campaign, it is a small victory worth celebrating," the message read.