Singaporean woman slashed in Malaysia hires prominent lawyer to fight for husband and son

SINGAPORE - Kuek Soo Lan, the Singaporean woman whose Malaysian husband and son were charged with the murder of an armed robber, has secured the services of well-known lawyer and politician Gobind Singh Deo in their defence.

Mr Gobind, the second son of legendary Malaysian lawyer Karpal Singh, is famous for saving Singaporean woman Noor Atiqah M. Lasim from the death sentence after she was caught with 370g of heroin and other drugs in her bag at the Sepang airport budget terminal on Jan 5, 2009.

The charge against Noor Atiqah was reduced to possession of drugs instead of trafficking after he produced new evidence to support her claim that she did not know what was in the bag, and she was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Mr Gobind, who is also Member of Parliament for Puchong in Selangor, confirmed in a text message to The Straits Times on Sunday evening that he would be representing Malaysian part-time cook Moo He Hong, 57, and his son, Moo Wee Keong, 29.

He added that a request for the release on bail of both men will be made on Monday.

"At first, I was hopeful that they will be proven innocent before, but now with the help of Mr Gobind, I'm quite optimistic of our chances," said Madam Kuek over the phone from Malaysia.

On Saturday, Malaysian paper The Star reported that Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had said that the men should not have been charged with murder.

"I agree that it cannot be murder," he was quoted as saying in a text message. "I have already asked my officers for an explanation. I will be looking at the matter directly."

The elder Moo and his son face the gallows if they are convicted for the murder of robber Chan Boon Poh outside their house in Gemenchech, Tampin on Feb 24.

Madam Kuek, who was slashed by the parang-wielding Chan and had to receive 25 stitches on her left arm and fingers, has repeatedly claimed that both were acting in self defence. It is also not clear how Chan died as he was allegedly still conscious after being tied up by her husband and son.

While the costs of legal fees have not been discussed yet, she revealed that the family's lack of finances was worrying.

"My husband and son have been locked up since Feb 24, and both me and my daughter have not been working because of this case. We might have to accept some help from Wee Keong's friends and our relatives later on," said Madam Kuek, who works as a promoter at supermarket chain Giant.

Meanwhile, netizens have launched a campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise funds for the family. It had garnered US$356 as of Sunday evening.

An online petition on www.change.org calling for the pair to be ensured a fair trial was also kickstarted. 2,079 have signed the petition so far.

mklee@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Shannon Teoh