"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Malaysia: Suhakam lauds proposal to remove mandatory death penalty

Malaysia Airport Meth Bust
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has lauded the proposal to abolish the mandatory death sentence for drug-related offences.

Its chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said Suhakam believed the positive development would place Malaysia on par with many other nations that have lately begun to take the step to abolish the mandatory death sentence.

"Suhakam hopes that the proposal for the amendment will be submitted quickly to Parliament, and while waiting for the decision, a suspension of all offences bringing the death sentence be implemented," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

He also urged the government to review crime laws to ensure that if a death sentence was imposed for an offence, it must only be for the most serious crimes as defined in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

He said Suhakam also recommended that Malaysia joined ICCPR and the Second Choice Protocol and endeavoured towards abolishing the death sentence in Malaysia, subsequently joining about 140 of 193 nations in the United Nations which had done away with the death sentence or had introduced a moratorium in law or in practice.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri was reported as saying on Tuesday that the government planned to introduce a bill to abolish the mandatory death sentence for several heavy crimes especially those related to drug offences and possession of firearms.

Nancy said the bill, which was expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in March next year, would return the punishments on offenders to the discretion of the judge.

Source: The Star, November 18, 2015


Malaysian govt wants mandatory death penalty abolished

The Malaysian government wants to abolish the mandatory death sentence for drug-related offences and says the punishment should be left to the discretion of the judge, The Star Online reported, citing an official.

Nancy Shukri, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said the government was looking to table this motion during the next Parliament seating in March.

Nancy said that their aim was to abolish the word "mandatory" from laws for drug-related offences and leave the sentence to the discretion of the judge. She said there were now a total of 1,022 convicts on death row.

Asked if she found death sentences effective to curb with crime, Nancy said, "It doesn't help". "We need to find other ways like education, motivation or something else," she added.

She pointed out that the removal of the mandatory death sentence did not mean that drug offenders would walk off scot-free, adding that they would face other sentences such as life imprisonment.

At present, those convicted of crimes related to drugs, firearm offences, murder and treason face the mandatory death penalty.

Last Friday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali said he would propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped. He said mandatory death sentences were a "paradox" as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals.

Source: thaivisa.com, November 18, 2015


Suhakam urges moratorium on executions pending death penalty review

Lauding Putrajaya's plan to abolish the mandatory death penalty in drug-related offences, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) urged for a moratorium on all executions for the time being.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam also urged for the proposed amendments to the law to be taken to Parliament soon.

In a statement, Hasmy described the government's plan as a positive development that will bring Malaysia's position on the issue closer to many countries that have abolished the mandatory death sentence in recent years.

"The commission recommends that the government consider acceding to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Second Optional Protocol, and to aim towards the eventual abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia, joining approximately 140 of the 193 United Nations Member States that have abolished the death penalty or introduced moratoriums, either in law or in practice," Hasmy added.

He also suggested that the government review all criminal laws to ensure that the death penalty, if imposed, is applicable only to the most serious crimes as defined by Article 6(2) of the ICCPR.

Yesterday, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri said that Putrajaya planned to table a bill in March next year to abolish the mandatory death penalty in drug-related offences.

She had said this would allow judges to use their discretion to choose between sentencing a person to jail and the gallows in non-criminal cases, such as drug-related offences.

"What we are looking at is the abolition of the mandatory death sentence. It is not easy to amend and we are working on it.

"We can get rid of the word 'mandatory' to allow judges to use their discretion in drug-related offences," she reportedly said.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview recently that he would propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped, adding that it was a "paradox", as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals.

"If I had my way, I would introduce the option for the judge in cases where it involves capital punishment. Give the option to the judge either to hang him or send him to prison.

"Then we're working towards a good administration of criminal justice," Apandi told The Malaysian Insider.

He said that this would be in line with the "universal thinking" of capital punishment, although he denied calling for the death penalty to be abolished altogether.

Source: themalaysianinsider.com, November 18, 2015

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