Malaysia to abolish death penalty; halts death sentence for time being

Lester Mason
October 11, 2018

Liew Vui Keong, a minister in the prime minister's department, said on Wednesday that amendments to the existing laws would be introduced in the next session, which begins on October 15.

He said with the government's move in abolishing the death penalty, the Pardons Board will now be tasked at looking into the position of death row convicts, which would either see their sentences commuted or released.

Mr Guterres noted the lack of transparency in some countries, where the death penalty was still used, underscoring its incompatibility with human rights standards.

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

Among which are the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The abolition of the death penalty could save the life of Sydney grandmother Maria Exposto, who was found guilty of drug trafficking by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia in May.

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

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

"The death penalty will be abolished, full stop".


Drug offences account for the largest number of executions in Malaysia, where current laws enforce mandatory capital punishment for crimes ranging from murder and kidnapping to drug offences and treason.

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

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

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

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

The organisation said that it strongly opposed the death penalty, irrespective of the crime committed, as it was a violation of human rights.

The government made a decision to scrap capital punishment because there had been strong domestic opposition to the practice.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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