Part of a gang of four Sarawak natives who carried out a series of violent armed robberies in Kallang back in 2010, 28-year-old Michael Anak Garing is due for the gallows this Friday at Changi Prison.
The Malaysian national had been sentenced to death in 2015 after being convicted of murder by the High Court of Singapore.
Now, his family, human rights activists, lawyers, and even the Malaysian government are calling for Singapore to spare him from execution. They are asking for his sentence to be amended to life in prison instead.
Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong that the government will appeal to Singapore to grant clemency to Michael, The Sun Daily reported. But it would appear to be futile, as Singapore executed Malaysian drug trafficker Prabu Pathmanathan last year despite Malaysia’s protest on the issue.
Activists and lawyers are taking issue with the short notice that Singapore gave to Michael’s family about his impending execution.
“Michael’s family, who are from Kapit in Sarawak, were only given eight days’ notice of the imminent execution. They were asked by letter to make the ‘necessary funeral arrangements’,” Malaysian rights lawyer N. Surendran told The Malaysian Insight.
“This extremely short notice is disturbing and a cause for concern. It gives the family scant time to spend with Micheal in his final days and to make preparations.”
Michael’s uncle, Adriel Abit, told Free Malaysia Today that they had been trying for the past eight years to appeal for Michael’s sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment.
Non-governmental organization Amnesty International has also condemned Singapore for putting Michael on death row and called for the immediate halt to the execution.
“Once again, Singapore threatens to inflict the kind of cruelty it claims to oppose. No matter how heinous the crime, the death penalty is a degrading and inhuman punishment. We denounce its use in all circumstances,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Singapore Researcher at Amnesty International. She urged the authorities to re-establish the moratorium on executions as a first step towards their abolition.
The Kallang robberies
The robbery spree that Michael and his three compatriots went on back in 2010 left one dead and three others severely injured.
The four Sarawak natives carried out the violent robberies in Kallang from the late night of May 29, 2010, till the wee hours of the next morning. A 24-year-old construction worker and a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman were kicked, punched and slashed with a machete. A 43-year-old Indian national had both his arms hacked so badly that the cuts went all the way down to the bone.
Another Indian national was knocked off his bicycle, and was slashed repeatedly. Among other serious injuries, he sustained a fractured skull and a severed jugular vein. The man died from his injuries.
Michael was found guilty of murder as the court concluded that he wielded the parang during the fatal attack. His three other companions were spared the gallows but were given hefty sentences nonetheless. One was jailed for life with 24 strokes of the cane, while the other two were each given 33 years in prison and 24 strokes of the cane.
In court, Michael’s lawyer tried to appeal against the conviction and sentence by arguing that he was not the one who dealt the killing blow.
This article, Malaysia and Amnesty International urge Singapore to spare Sarawak murderer from gallows, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!