De facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong today insisted that Malaysia did not interfere in the decision of a Singapore court to stay the execution of a Malaysian citizen.
As Liew said in a statement today, the Singapore Court of Appeal granted the stay to P Pannir Selvam to allow him to challenge the rejection of his clemency petition.
He noted that despite writing in to Singapore's Ministry of Law last Wednesday, it was the court that made the decision on the stay, not its executive branch.
"Although I haven't had the benefit of reading the grounds of decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal, what’s obvious is that the Singapore court made its decision having considered the prevailing circumstances and the rule of law applicable to the case.
"It is therefore equally untenable to allege that there was interference on my part to their judicial process. I, and every one of us here in Malaysia, respect the decision of the Singapore court," his statement read.
"In this case, the Singapore court only granted a temporary reprieve to Pannir Selvam to allow him to exhaust his legal and constitutional rights by engaging a competent counsel of his choice.
"It is absolutely abhorrent to justice if he is denied such basic rights and is executed without being heard."
Pannir Selvam, 31, was scheduled to be executed last Friday after being convicted in 2017 of trafficking 51.84g of diamorphine into Singapore. His execution was put on hold by the stay he received just a day earlier.
Immediately after the stay was granted, Singapore Law Minister K Shanmugam criticised Putrajaya for making three requests over the past year to stop the execution of Malaysians in the country.
Shanmugam said this would undermine rule of law, and accused some in Putrajaya of being "ideologically opposed" to the death penalty despite it being an "effective deterrent" against drug offences.
Although the Singaporean law minister never named his Malaysian counterpart, Liew explained that he had written to Shanmugam's office to make representation based on legal grounds for Pannir Selvam's situation.
Liew added he had received blessings from Wisma Putra to do so.
"The allegation that I have interfered with their judicial system is totally unfounded and baseless. It’s purely a figment of imagination on someone’s part," he stressed.