PUTRAJAYA: A former sugar cane seller escaped the gallows when the Federal Court commuted the death sentence to 40 years jail for the murder of Indonesian maid Muntik Bani, 15 years ago.

The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat unanimously handed the sentence to A. Murugan, 50, after allowing the appeal from the accused and ordered the sentence to start from Oct 21, 2009.

“The court set aside the death sentence and ordered Murugan to serve the 40-year jail sentence from the day he was detained (Oct 21, 2009),” said Tengku Maimun who presided over the case with Appeals Court president Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Federal Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Muntik Bani, 36, from Surabaya passed away on Oct 26, 2009 after failing to respond to treatment at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang near here.

Murugan was found guilty by the Shah Alam High Court in 2010 for the murder of Muntik at his house in Jalan Datuk Yusof Shahbudin 6, Taman Sentosa, between Oct 18 and 20, 2009.

Murugan’s initial appeals at the Appeals Court and Federal Court were dismissed in 2012 and 2014 but the case was brought up under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

Earlier, Murugan’s lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo urged the court to impose a jail term of between 35 to 40 years due to Murugan’s health condition that requires medication and the fact that he was in coma for six months after undergoing surgery.

Sangeet also urged the court to consider the fact that the victim had died six days after receiving treatment in the hospital.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor How Mei Ling urged the court to maintain the death sentence to serve as a deterrent to others since Muntik had died due to the brutal, violent and inhuman attack by the accused.

How argued that Murugan had ill-treated a woman who had sought refuge in his house and caused severe injuries to her back through repeated beatings, including with blunt objects.

Muntik had also informed another witness in the hospital that she was beaten up, splashed with hot water and locked in the bathroom for two days without food or drinks although she did nothing wrong to Murugan.