Malaysia holds off on Filipino's execution: Manila

MANILA - Malaysia has granted a last-minute stay of execution to a convicted Filipino murderer, following an appeal by Manila, Philippine officials said on Saturday (Aug 19).

Ejah Jaafar, whose age was not given, was scheduled to hang on Friday after being found guilty of murder in Malaysia in 2006.

But following an appeal by the Philippine mission in Kuala Lumpur, Jaafar's case was referred back to the pardons board in Sabah state, according to a Philippines foreign department statement on Saturday.

The Philippines government said its ambassador to Kuala Lumpur has since 2015 been requesting that the Malaysian authorities spare Jaafar's life and commute his sentence.

"We would like to thank the governor of Sabah for responding to the repeated appeals of the Philippine government on behalf of the family of Mr Jaafar," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the statement.

Jaafar was sentenced to death in 2009, a ruling that was later upheld by an appellate court and Malaysia's federal court.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos live in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island, many having been displaced by war and violence in the nearby southern Philippine region of Mindanao - home to long-running Muslim rebellions.

Philippine foreign department spokesman Robespierre Bolivar told AFP that Jaafar and his family have lived in Sabah "for a long time", but gave no other details.

The Philippines has also appealed to Malaysia to commute the death sentences of nine of its nationals who were convicted of taking part in a 2013 attack on the Sabah district of Lahad Datu, which left scores of people dead.