Malaysia hailed over plans to abolish death penalty

12 October, 2018, 05:22 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Indonesian Siti Aisyah left and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong right escorted by police as they leave a court hearing in Shah Alam Malaysia

In April previous year, human rights group Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the use of the death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital punishment in 2016.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said on Thursday that cabinet had chose to suspend use of the Sedition Act as they prepare a bill to repeal it altogether.

In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by hanging is mandatory for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, for trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.

Keong called for a halt on all executions until the decision is in effect, saying: "Since we are abolishing the sentence, all executions should not be carried out".

Liew Vui Keong, minister in the prime minister's office, said Thursday that the paperwork to abolish the death penalty in Malaysia is now in its final stages after the cabinet approved the measure on Wednesday.

"We are studying certain issues. 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", he told the media after the "Law Reform Talk" at Universiti Malaya here, today.

Mr Guterres, in a statement marking the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, said progress made toward eliminating the death penalty had been "marred by setbacks".

Liew said the amended law would be put before parliament next Monday.

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European Union member nations have been at the forefront of campaigning to end capital punishment worldwide.

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

Apart from the death penalty, the Pakatan Harapan government also plans to do away with other controversial and draconian laws such as the Sedition Act 1948.

A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 percent of the 60,000-strong prison population.

There were 993 executions recorded in 2017 in 23 countries, but Amnesty's numbers do not include the "thousands" it says are believed to have been executed in China, which classifies this information as a state secret.

Surendran claimed there were now "hundreds of Malaysians" on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

The senator asserted that a fully-functioning justice system is what deters criminal acts, not the imposition of the death penalty.

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