Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Malaysia to abolish death penalty

Malaysia to abolish death penalty

The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister's Department Liew Vui Keong said the issue was discussed when the Cabinet met on Wednesday morning.

Liew said the necessary paperwork to abolish the death penalty which is now in its the final stages had received the go ahead from the Attorney General Chambers to be tabled in Parliament.

The government made a decision to scrap capital punishment because the Malaysian public had shown they were against the death penalty, communications and multimedia minister Gobind Singh Deo Gobind said.

Two Chilean tourists, now on trial for the murder of a Malaysian man, would also have faced the death penalty if found guilty of murder.

"When commuted, they would have to face life imprisonment because there had been several deaths that were caused by the offender and so they were sentenced to death by the court", he said.

Capital punishment is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes, and is carried out by hanging - a legacy of British colonial rule.

Human Rights Watch hailed the "fabulous news", with its deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson saying the move would increase pressure on other countries in the region to follow suit.

The government's announcement was "an encouraging sign", Amnesty International's Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.

"We need to look into it and hear the views of all, but as it stands today, the decision is to abolish the death penalty, " Liew stressed after a law reform talk at a Malaysian university.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called for a discussion on the death penalty, due to the high crime statistics in the country.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

Surendran urged the government to not forget the hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in Singapore and other countries, particularly for being drug mules.

Mr Gilmour said there was "far too much secrecy, and it's quite indicative of the fact that although many countries are giving up the practice".

Amnesty International reported in March that 799 people on death row were convicted of drug trafficking, including 416 foreign nationals.

The UN chief argued that legal representation or transparent criminal proceedings might have spared them from the death penalty.

The UN envoy noted the majority of executions today are carried out in China, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Like this: