A Malaysian gay man was handed a 12-year jail term this morning, after pleading guilty to murdering his boyfriend of eight years.
Tan Chee Yeow, 40, admitted to stabbing his boyfriend, 48-year-old Tan Chin Siong, to death at a walkway near a train station in Singapore on 4 September 2015.
Both men met each other in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru 9 years ago, and the accused moved to Singapore that very same year upon the victim’s request.
However, the relationship unexpectedly deterioriated in 2012, when the accused wanted to be publicly recognised as the victim’s partner. The victim wanted to keep their relationship low-profile, especially from his immediate family.
Things became worse a week before the murder – also the victim’s birthday – when the accused threw a tantrum at the victim for going back on his promise to introduce him as his partner to his family. The next day, the accused outed their relationship to the victim’s mother in Malaysia via a phone call – the latter was shocked and told the accused that ‘it was not possible for them (to be together)’.
To make things worse, the victim started avoiding the accused’s calls and subsequently told the latter over the phone that he was ‘not gay’. He also told the accused that he wanted to ‘get married and have children’.
The final straw came when the victim accompanied the accused – who is known to have a drinking habit and have threatened to commit suicide a number of times – to see a psychiatrist.
Sensing little chance of a reconciliation, the accused stabbed the victim twice in the chest and once in the back.
The accused, however, felt immediate remorse thereafter – he ended up wailing at the scene, before he was arrested.
He also penned a letter in Chinese expressing his remorse and his desire for forgiveness from the victim’s family.
‘I really loved him. This is the regret of my life and eternal pain,’ he wrote.
Same-sex relationships are currently not recognised in Singapore nor Malaysia. The Singapore government has also chosen to uphold Section 377a of its Penal Code, which criminalizes sex between mutually consenting men and carries up to a two-year jail term.
In Malaysia, its Prime Minister Najib Razak has also said that his government will not protect LGBTI rights because they are at odds with Islam. Its religious police are also given powers to clamp down on LGBTI Muslims in the country.