Family of Malaysian on death row pleading with S'pore govt to commute sentence

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of Kho Jabing is pleading with the Singapore government to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment, claiming he is not a bad person.

Jabing, 31, who is from Ulu Baram, Sarawak, faces the gallows for killing a Chinese construction worker with a tree branch in 2008 during a robbery attempt.

His mother Lenduk Baling, 54, said her son was not a bad person and had since regretted his actions.

"From the time he was born until he was in school, he never fought with his friends, teachers or anyone else. He is not a bad person," she said, sobbing uncontrollably at a press conference yesterday.

Lenduk said she had not been able to sleep or eat properly since hearing that her son had been sentenced to death.

Jabing was scheduled to be executed on Nov 6 but received a stay the day before after his lawyer filed a motion raising points of law about the way the case was handled.

The case will be heard by Singapore's Court of Appeal on Nov 23.

Jabing's sister Jumai Kho, 27, said her family was initially shocked to learn that he was involved in the case.

"He isn't a bad person. He is lo­­ving and has always taken care of us. I hope Singapore won't give him the death penalty. He is the only brother I have," she said, adding that Jabing was drunk and influenced by his friends when the incident occurred.

Jabing was sentenced to death in 2010 but in August 2013, following revisions to Singapore's mandatory death penalty laws, the High Court sentenced him to life and 24 strokes of the cane instead.

The prosecution challenged the decision before the Court of Appeal, which again sentenced Jabing to death in a 3-2 majority decision earlier this year.

On Oct 19, Singapore President Tony Tan rejected a clemency petition filed by Jabing.