A public forum titled "Lessons Learnt From Yong Vui Kong's Case" was held at the Penang Han Chiang College on Sunday 22 Aug 2010 at 8.00pm. The organisers were Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Penang and Amnesty International Malaysia. The forum was attended by about 60 people. A large portion of the audience were young people in their 20’s and early 30’s.
The 3 panelists were Ms. Nora Murat (Executive Director, Amnesty International Malaysia), Clement Ong (Human Rights Committee, Bar Council Malaysia) and Choo Chon Kai (Secretariat, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Penang). The forum moderator, Datuk Dr. Toh Kin Woon started the forum by giving a brief account of the life of Yong Vui Kong, the events leading to his arrest for heroin possession and his subsequent charge and death sentence in Singapore. Dr. Toh raised 2 questions: does Vui Kong deserve a second chance in life and whether Man has the power over God to end another human being’s life?
Ms. Nora Murat pointed out that the global trend is to say no to capital punishment. Nearly two thirds (129) of the countries in this world have already said no to the death penalty. In Dec 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of death penalty. Nora said that capital punishment is a state murder and it is not right to legalise a murder. Everyone has a right to life and capital punishment is a cruel and inhumane way to punish wrong doers. She pointed out that statistics have not shown that the death penalty has caused a drop in serious criminal offences. Nora pointed out that the death penalty is class bias as most of those executed were predominantly from the lower strata of society.
(All photo credits: SUARAM Penang.)