A 40-YEAR-OLD man who spent 11 years on death row in Malaysia for the rape and murder of a woman in a crime that shocked the nation 13 years ago was finally executed on Friday morning.
Local reports said Ahmad Najib Aris, a former aircraft cleaning supervisor, was sentenced by hanging at about 6am in the Kajang Prison, Selangor, near Kuala Lumpur. His body was buried several hours later at the nearby Muslim cemetery.
Ahmad Najib was sent to the gallows for abducting Canny Ong at a shopping complex Bangsar, an affluent neighbourhood in the capital on June 14, 2003, after which the 29-year-old’s charred remains were found in a manhole near a highway construction site. He was executed after the courts refused to accept his numerous appeals, upholding a unanimous decision by the Federal Court in 2009.
According to The Star, Ahmad Najib was also given the maximum 20-year prison sentence and was received 10 strokes of caning for Ong’s raping.
A Kajang prison spokesman was quoted as saying that Ahmad Najib was allowed to meet his family members for the last time on Thursday.
Ahmad Najib’s former lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, said the Ahmad Najib was a pious Muslim while serving the prison sentence as he often led prayers in jail and taught fellow inmates about religion.
“To me, at least the time he was in prison, he was a better person than many outside,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
Prior to her death, Ong was an IT-analyst who lived in the United States with her husband Brandon Ong. She was in Malaysia to visit her father who was ill.
The woman was abducted on June 13, 2003 after she attended a dinner with several relatives and close friends at the Bangsar Shopping Complex.
By the end of the dinner, Ong went to the basement parking bay to retrieve a parking ticket in her car. She had asked her mother and sister to wait for her at the autopay machine but never returned.
The mother and sister had waited for some 20 minutes before deciding to look for her but later found her purple hatchback car missing from the parking bay.
A review of the security camera footage confirmed their worst fears as Ong was seen being abducted by a man and spirited away in her car. The driver of the vehicle had broken through an exit barrier of the parking lot.
Ahmad Najib was arrested after authorities found forensic evidence linking him to the crime. It was reported that he did not have a motive for the rape and murder, which led to various conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International condemned the quiet execution in a strongly-worded statement slamming the death penalty.
“The death penalty is never an answer. Hanging a man for murder is not justice, it is revenge.
“We oppose the use of capital punishment regardless of the crime committed,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu was quoted as saying byMalaysiaKini.
Shamini also slammed the “lack of transparency” on the use of the death penalty in Malaysia depite international law allowing for the death penalty for serious crimes.
“International law and standards require that in countries which have yet to abolish the death penalty, the authorities must ensure that prisoners under the sentence of death and their families are given reasonable advance notice of the scheduled date and time of the executions.
“From Amnesty International Malaysia’s experience in dealing with imminent executions, families are only informed between 72 and 24 hours before.
“Also of concern is the authorities deliberately concealing or minimising public scrutiny over imminent executions,” she said.