Sunday, January 23, 2022

PM Ismail to make first official visit to Singapore amid outcry over Nagaenthran

He is expected to meet with both Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong and president Halimah Yacob.

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Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will make his first official visit to Singapore on Nov 29, amid protests over the looming execution of Malaysian Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam and appeals by the government for the authorities in the city-state to spare his life.

Wisma Putra said in a statement that Ismail’s visit is at the invitation of his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, in conjunction with the launch of the air and land Vaccinated Travel Lane between Malaysia and Singapore.

He is also expected to call on Singapore President Halimah Yacob, who has been urged to grant Nagaenthran a pardon.

MalaysiaNow previously reported that Wisma Putra has been doubling its diplomatic efforts with Singapore in the hope that authorities there will spare the life of Nagaenthran, whose final appeal will be heard on Nov 30.

Nagaenthran was initially scheduled to be executed on Nov 10 after losing several earlier appeals, but tested positive for Covid-19 as his lawyers were rushing to meet a tight deadline for a stay of execution.

Ismail and Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah have personally pleaded for Nagaenthran’s life, while an online petition for a pardon has gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

Nagaenthran, who was arrested in April 2009, had been on death row for more than a decade for trafficking 42.72g of heroin into the city-state which has some of the world’s toughest laws against illegal drugs.

His case was pushed into the international spotlight after details emerged about his mental state.

A diagnosis of his mental capability presented during his trial found that Nagaenthran has an IQ of 69 – below the threshold of 70 for declaring a person as intellectually disabled.

International treaties, whose signatories include Singapore, prohibit capital punishment for mentally disabled persons.

Wisma Putra said Ismail and Lee would discuss bilateral cooperation between the two nations, including new opportunities for effective recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Both prime ministers will also be exchanging views on regional and international issues of mutual concern,” it said.

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