Death penalty to be abolished

12 October, 2018, 05:25 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Australian Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto leaves following her release at the High Court in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur

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.

Communications and multimedia minister Gobind Singh Deo confirmed the cabinet had resolved to end the death penalty.

The country mandates hanging perpetrators for a wide range of crimes, including murder, drug trafficking, treason and acts of terror.

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.

"We have seen actually, and also there are some movies about the fact that people who were sentenced to death were found, after 10, 20 or 30 years, that they were innocent", he said.

"This is a positive move for Malaysia, as we are hoping more countries, particularly in South East Asia, to eventually demolish the execution practices", Usman Hamid, Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, told the ABC.

"Today, I join fellow human rights defenders and the global community in renewing and sustaining the campaign against the death penalty", De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.


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

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 percent of the 60,000-strong prison population.

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.

Earlier in his opening speech, Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government is also mulling a repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws. There has been continuous calls by local and global NGOs like Amnesty worldwide and SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) for such laws to be repealed as it has been subject to abuse by the executive power against its critics such as politicians who oppose the elected government, activists, journalists and even writers.

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

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

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