Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Malaysia to abolish death penalty

Malaysia to abolish death penalty

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the amendments to the existing laws imposing the death penalty as a capital punishment would be tabled in the next Dewan Rakyat Sitting.

The sentiments of the families affected by crimes such as murder must also be factored in by the Malaysian government, who plans to table the bill to abolish the death penalty as early as Monday, 15 October when parliament reconvenes.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, who is the de facto law minister, said the only issue was what to do with the convicts now on death row.

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

"Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them".

Executions are 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.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, had echoed Mr Guterres concerns.

Malaysia's cabinet has agreed to abolish the death penalty and halt pending executions, a move that has been hailed by global human rights groups and foreign diplomats.

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

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In a statement on Thursday, Amnesty International said the decision was a "major step forward".

Regionally, only Cambodia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste have abolished the death penalty.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

The moratorium on the death penalty affects, among others, two women accused of assassinating the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il past year.

Malaysian rights advocates welcomed the decision, saying there was never any proof that mandatory death sentences deterred offenders from violent or drug-related crimes.

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

"All death penalty (sic) will be abolished".

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

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