We did what we could to fight for Pannir — Sangkari Pranthaman

AUG 3 — We did what we could to fight for Pannir’s life. We tried to get the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) to issue a Certificate of Substantive Assistance as Pannir did give some solid leads and hints on the activities of the drug mule recruiter that he interacted with.  

The aforementioned certificate would pardon Pannir from the death penalty and instead place him in life imprisonment. But the CNB has refused to do so till today. We tried to gather leads and evidence ourselves by physically scouting around the locations Pannir mentioned where he met the recruiter.

We found some success, and the evidence has been passed to the authorities both in Singapore and Malaysia. What would happen next remains yet unknown. But our fight continues. Our lawyers are finding points to refute the sentence he received, and we, his family, are continuing the fight in our own ways.

Sometimes, I wish we can time travel back to earlier days, when we were younger, and such concerns worry us not. The Journey of little Pannir, those carefree days bring back so many happy memories to us.

On days when we are tired and weary, we think about those memories we had with Pannir. We cry and we gain back the vitality and energy we need to persevere on. Yet, we have it better, as no matter how hard I try to explain, I can never comprehend what a day in Pannir’s life is like now.  

While being on the death row, Pannir is placed in a 6x6 cage, with nothing but a 1-inch thick blanket and a floor mat to sleep on. He has no mattress and no pillows. He lives in a world where he says, “..seconds turns to minutes, minutes turn into hours and hours into days.”

“Yet every second of every minute of every hour of every day is the same as the one that had just passed. Time moves yet it is as though it remains completely still. All remains the same.”

The shower water is his drinking water. It has been years since he took a hot shower, the water he gets in his cage is cold. Adding on to grimness is the dim and low lights used in the cage. No natural light enters the cell. “There is more bad than good, more sadness than happiness, and each day we get closer to turning into hollow beings, devoid of emotions, senses, and will.” he says.  

I am not here to argue that he is right, and he is not guilty. I know and understand that he, in fact, is. But the mechanisms for correcting and punishing him has to be more humane and better. Now it only seems as though his punishers are only hell-bent on stamping out every trace of humanity within him and all death row prisoners in Changi, making them dead internally, before getting them dead externally.

This life had brought so much suffering and pain for Pannir. No sibling, truly, can accept this fate for their brother. He is stuck in this Changi Prison, left with nothing but memories of his past and armed with nothing to deal with the present and the future. A world that only few know, and even fewer experiences.

Each year, when it is my brother’s birthday, I would wonder if it would be his last one. However, we have to remain positive and hopeful for him, even when he is not. My only wish is for me to celebrate Pannir’s birthday with him and my family and I am ready to give up anything for that.

*Sangkari Pranthaman is the elder sister of Malaysian Pannir Selvam Pranthaman, who is on death row in Singapore for a drug offence. Pannir’s birthday was on July 31.

**This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail. 

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