Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Malaysia says it will end death penalty for all crimes

Malaysia says it will end death penalty for all crimes

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.

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"I was pushing for the introduction into Philippine criminal laws the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua, to ensure that, even in extraordinarily heinous crimes, our policy direction looks at restorative justice over punitive or retributive measures, while equally aware and conscious of the need to bring to justice perpetrators of the most egregious offenses", she said.

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.

Its promises included eradicating corruption and bolstering human rights.

LFL adviser N Surendran said having rejected the death penalty in Malaysia, the government had "the moral authority to fight for the lives of citizens abroad".

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

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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Amnesty International also cheered the news, calling it "an astounding announcement". 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by local and global NGOs like Amnesty worldwide and SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) for such laws to be repealed as it has been subject to abuse by the executive power against its critics such as politicians who oppose the elected government, activists, journalists and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.

On the World Day Against Death Penalty, opposition Senator Leila De Lima called for a renewed and sustained campaign against the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines.

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".

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.

"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.

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.

Excluding China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan - in that order - carried out 84 per cent of all executions in 2017.

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