Former de facto law minister and Warisan permanent chairperson Liew Vui Keong has passed away.
Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking and Sandakan MP Vivian Wong confirmed the Batu Sapi MP’s passing with Malaysiakini.
His personal aide said he passed away at about 11:50am at a hospital in Kota Kinabalu.
He leaves behind his wife and four children.
He did not contest in the recent Sabah state election nor did he campaign
Prior to joining Warisan in 2018, Liew had been a long-time member of BN component party Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and was its president from 2006 to 2014.
Under LDP, he won the Sandakan seat in 12th general election and was appointed deputy federal minister for international trade and industry from 2008 to 2009 under the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration.
When Najib Abdul Razak became prime minister, Liew was made deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for legal affairs from 2009 to 2013.
After winning the Batu Sapi seat as a Warisan candidate in the last general election, he was made Minister in Prime Minister’s Department for legal affairs.
He held this position until the Pakatan Harapan government’s collapse in February this year. – MKINI
Liew remembered for his commitment to reform
From politicians to human rights groups, many acknowledged that Liew pushed hard for reforms to the justice system, even when met with resistance.
Lawyers For Liberty (LFL) advisor N. Surendran said Liew pushed for the abolition of the death penalty, even though this was met with strong opposition from some of his Pakatan Harapan cabinet colleagues.
“I met him when he was law minister to find solutions for the predicament of Malaysians on death row in Singapore.
“He was plain-spoken and practical, but very determined. He did his best to help and went above and beyond his duties as a minister.
“In his case, one can genuinely say that his death is a tragic loss for the country,” said Surendran.
MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that while he disagreed on several matters with Liew, including the abolishment of the death penalty, their friendship did not end because of their differences.
“His death is a big loss to the people and the country. His services and devotion as a leader will always be remembered,” he said.
Human rights activist Yin Shao Loong said that there were not many politicians who passionately believed in reform.
“VK Liew was a sincere champion of abolishing the death penalty.
“VK believed it was not up to the state to dispense death. He listened patiently to civil society views on human rights. A good man, may he rest in peace,” Yin tweeted.
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) deputy executive director of the Ren Chung Yu said she met Liew met when they tried to make stalking a crime.
“A multi-agency committee was set up – which survived the change of government. And currently, a cabinet paper is being prepared,” he said.
Ren added that Liew also visited their domestic violence shelter, where he listened to the voices of survivors and pledged to start a legal aid fund for them.
Keadilan secretary Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that Liew was dedicated and committed to law reform, including the reform of prisons as well as capital punishment.
Liew, who was de facto law minister from July 2018 until the fall of Pakatan government in March this year, was also committed to the decriminalisation of drug use, the introduction of a common Bar course, and the establishment of an independent law commission, among other things.
Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman tweeted his “deepest condolences to the family of Datuk VK Liew on his sudden passing in Kota Kinabalu”.
Khairy Jamaluddin, in conveying condolences to the family, said Liew was kind and friendly to him.
“He was professional and courteous in Parliament, and a strong fighter for his home state of Sabah. Rest well, VK,” he tweeted.
Liew who was Parti Warisan Sabah permanent chairman, is believed to have died from a lung infection at about 11.40am on Friday. ANN
MKINI / ANN