Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Malaysia Moves Ahead on Effort to Abolish Death Penalty

PM Mahathir Mohamad's alliance which won a stunning election upset this year had promised upholding human rights PM Mahathir Mohamad's alliance which won a stunning election upset this year had promised upholding human rights
Steven Clarke | 12 October, 2018, 05:22

In a revolutionary move, the Malaysian government has announced that it plans to abolish the death penalty now employed by its legal system as punishment for heavy crimes.

Capital punishment in Malaysia is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes.

Its promises included eradicating corruption and bolstering human rights.

The death penalty in Malaysia may soon be a thing of the past because the cabinet has chose to abolish it.

"I hope the law will be amended soon".

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".

The next parliament sitting starts on Monday.

Amnesty International also cheered the news, calling it "an astounding announcement".

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

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

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong.

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"The reprieve can be in the form of a life sentence", Gurdial Singh, president of the National Human Rights Society, told AFP.

The African Christian Democratic Party has promoted capital punishment as part of its policy.

Sirul Azhar Umar (left) was found guilty of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu (right). There has been continuous calls by local and global NGOs like Amnesty worldwide and SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) for such laws to be repealed as it has been subject to abuse by the executive power against its critics such as politicians who oppose the elected government, activists, journalists and even writers.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals were hanged, the New Straits Times newspaper said.

19 prisoners are now on death row but due to lack of infrastructure and capacity, PNG is still not ready to implement capital punishment. The decision was welcomed by rights advocates, who said there was never any proof that mandatory death sentences deterred offenders from violent or drug-related crimes.

"The death penalty is abhorrent, and we must try and save our countrymen and women from judicial murder overseas".

Malaysian police stand guard as anti-death penalty activists protest in Kuala Lumpur.

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.

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

"Our view is that executions should not be carried out".

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