PUTRAJAYA: A former scrap metal dealer’s death sentence for killing a transvestite 15 years ago has been commuted to 38 years in jail by the Federal Court.

A three-judge panel comprising Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Federal Court judges Datuk Nordin Hassan and Datuk Abu Bakar Jais allowed V. Raja’s review application under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

Justice Tengku Maimun ordered Raja’s prison sentence to begin from the date of his arrest on May 23, 2010, and also imposed 12 strokes of caning.

Raja, 35, was found guilty by the High Court in 2012 for killing M. Kanan, 42, at a flood retention pond in Lorong Air Jernih, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur between 1am and 2am on Aug 24, 2009.

He failed in his appeals to overturn his conviction and death sentence at the Court of Appeal in 2013 and Federal Court in 2015.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Zulkpli Abdullah urged the court to uphold the death sentence, citing the extremely brutal nature of the murder and its apparent lack of motive based on the facts of the case.

He said on the night of the murder, Raja and a group of his friends went in a van to the location of the deceased.

He said the deceased, who was a transvestite and worked as a prostitute, was forced to enter the van and have sexual intercourse with Raja, who later stabbed him with a knife.

Raja’s lawyer T. Vijayandran had earlier pleaded for the court to give his client a chance to have his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the same panel commuted the death sentence imposed on Indonesian Edi Eko Saputro to 36 years in jail for murdering his lover, after allowing his review application under the same Act.

Justice Tengku Maimun also sentenced Edi Eko, 39, to 12 strokes of the cane, with his jail term starting from the date of his arrest on July 31, 2011.

Edi Eko, a labourer, was sentenced to death by the High Court in 2012 for killing Nestriana, also an Indonesian, at a house in Kampung Rumah Sepuluh, Plentong, Masai, Johor at about 10.20am on July 31, 2011.

His appeals were dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2014 and by the Federal Court the following year.

DPP Mohd Fairuz Johari requested the court to uphold the death sentence, saying the deceased was struck three times on the head with a bag containing a large rock.

However, Edi Eko’s lawyer Choong Kak Sen appealed for it to be commuted to life imprisonment, saying it was “a crime of passion”.

He added that his client and the deceased were lovers, and he had struck her after suspecting her of having an affair with another man. — Bernama