Malaysia to abolish death penalty; Bill may be tabled soon

12 October, 2018, 05:20 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Malaysia's government says it will abolish the death penalty and halt all executions in a rare move against capital punishment in Asia hailed by human rights groups

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.

However, Liew said that if their sentence is commuted then the inmates will have to face life imprisonment because they have been the cause of several deaths, which is why they were given the death penalty in the first place.

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

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

"All death penalty will be abolished".

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

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong.

"This is part of our election pledge and also in line with the move away from capital punishment in the rest of the world", he told The Associated Press.

Sirul Azhar Umar (left) was found guilty of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu (right).

Australia has said it can only extradite him if Malaysia abolished the death penalty.

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

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

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

The decision was welcomed by rights advocates and foreign diplomats.

"Prisoners under sentence of death must be treated with humanity and dignity and held in conditions that meet global human rights law and standards", the organisation said in a statement on Wednesday, which is World Day Against the Death Penalty.

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

"Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens overseas", he said, referring to the hundreds of Malaysians 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.

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

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand have death penalty laws.

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