KUCHING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A petition urging for clemency for Jabing Kho, who is awaiting a death sentence in Singapore for murder, could buy the Sarawakian three more months of life.
An organisation called We Believe in Second Chances is making a last-gasp move to get as many signatures as possible for a petition to be submitted to Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
"Usually from the day the petition is submitted, there is around three months before the President's decision is announced," said Ms Kirsteen Han, a founding member of the group, which is also working with the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign group.
Ms Han, who held a press conference with Jabing's family members in Sarawak's capital Kuching on Sunday (May 2), urged for more support from Sarawakian politicians.
"We understand it (hanging) can be any time. We wish to have Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem's help. Help us appeal to Singapore. Ask for a lesser penalty. Don't have him hanged," said Jabing's sister Jumai Kho.
Their mother Lenduk told reporters she was sorry for her son's actions.
"I only have one son. I'm asking for help not to have him hanged," she said.
Mr Leonard Shim, president of the Sarawak Advocates' Association, lent his support. He said no one was questioning Singapore's legal system, but said "everyone deserves a second chance".
Mr Shim also took the opportunity to highlight the fact that Malaysia also had the death penalty, which he believed should be done away with.
Kho was convicted in May, 2011, for causing the death of Chinese citizen Cao Ruyin in 2007.
In 2012, the Singapore Parliament amended the Penal Code to give judges discretion to sentence offenders convicted under Section 300(c) to life imprisonment with caning.
This change was applied retrospectively and Kho was afforded an opportunity to have his death sentence reconsidered.
On Nov 18, 2013, Justice Tay Yong Kwang resentenced Kho to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.
But on Jan 14, 2015, the Court of Appeal, by a majority decision (with two out of the five judges dissenting) overturned Justice Tay's decision and sentenced Kho to death.
On April 5 this year, the Court of Appeal upheld Kho's death sentence, lifting the stay of execution that they had issued in November 2015, after Kho's lawyer filed a criminal motion at the eleventh hour.
Kho has now exhausted all legal avenues, leaving clemency as the only option. His defence has always insisted that Kho did not posses the intention to kill, nor was the murder premeditated.