M'sia PM writes to S'pore PM seeking leniency for M'sian drug trafficker set to hang on Nov. 10

But the Malaysia PM said he would not interfere with Singapore's judicial process.

Belmont Lay | November 08, 2021, 04:44 AM

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Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has written to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to seek leniency on behalf of a Malaysian man due to be hanged in a matter of days.

Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 33, is set to be executed on Nov. 10 for drug trafficking.

In his appeal, Ismail asked the Singapore government to look into staying Nagaenthran's execution, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported on Nov. 7.

The appeal also sought a fresh application for presidential clemency for the convicted drug trafficker.

Malaysia PM's appeal

According to Malaysiakini, Ismail stressed he had no intention of interfering in Singapore's laws, but personally appealed for leniency on “humanitarian grounds”.

The Malaysian news site wrote that it had sighted the contents of the letter, which said: “While I note that the legal process has been exhausted, I submit this appeal for leniency purely on humanitarian grounds, without any intention to interfere in Singapore’s judicial process."

It added: "I believe there is still room for the government of Singapore to consider granting a stay of execution and allowing a new petition for presidential clemency in the case of Mr Nagaenthran."

“I sincerely hope you will give this appeal due consideration.”

Malaysiakini also reported that the letter was dated Nov. 3.

About the case

Nagaenthran's case has been in the limelight the last few weeks as human rights groups called attention to it citing the death row inmate's diminished intellectual disability and IQ of 69.

The accused was arrested in Singapore in April 2009 for smuggling 42.72g of heroin.

He was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint while entering Singapore from Malaysia.

He had a bundle of drugs strapped to his thigh.

In November 2010, he was sentenced to death by the High Court here.

The process of appeal for his case went through to the final stage.

His application for presidential clemency was rejected in June 2020, which effectively exhausted all avenues of staying his execution.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Nov. 5: "The High Court considered the facts, expert evidence from four different psychiatric/ psychological experts, and further submissions by the prosecution and the defence."

"The High Court held that Nagaenthran knew what he was doing, and upheld the sentence of death."

MHA said the High Court had assessed the evidence of psychiatrists that Nagaenthran was not intellectually disabled, which included a psychiatrist called by the defence.

The High Court, MHA added, already considered the issue of whether Nagaenthran's mental responsibility for his actions was substantially impaired at the time of committing the offence.

MHA gave the example of Nagaenthran trying to forestall a search when stopped at the checkpoint by telling Central Narcotics Bureau officers that he was working in security, "thus appealing to the social perception of the trustworthiness of security officers".

The MHA statement added, citing the High Court, in bold text: "He was also noted to be 'continuously altering his account of his education qualifications, ostensibly to reflect lower educational qualifications each time he was interviewed'."

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Top photo via Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Facebook