Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

Malaysia 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
Deanna Wagner | 12 October, 2018, 05:24

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.

Foreign diplomats and worldwide human rights groups on Thursday praised Malaysia for plans to abolish the death penalty in the next legislative session.

"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".

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"I hope the law will be amended soon".

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.

Its promises included eradicating corruption and bolstering human rights.

Malaysia has announced plans for a new bill that could abolish the death penalty within weeks and bring in a moratorium on executions effective immediately, a move that could save a Sydney grandmother now facing execution for drug charges.

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.

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

And contrary to popular belief, the abolition of the death penalty does not lead to an increase in crime.

"All death penalty will be abolished".

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

Prior to this, Liew also said that the government is looking to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and other "draconian laws".

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

"Once the death penalty is scrapped, Malaysia will have the moral authority to fight for the lives of Malaysians facing death sentences overseas", he added.

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".

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