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

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

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.

Surendran claimed there were now "hundreds of Malaysians" on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

The minister also called for a moratorium on all executions until the death penalty is abolished.

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

"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.

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

"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.

"All death penalty will be abolished".

"Let's talk about the death penalty, let's talk about hard labour in our prisons without the chance of early parole for violent contact crimes, let's have this discussion and we call upon government to immediately facilitate such national process of discourse", IFP chief whip Narend Singh said in a statement in September.

Capital punishment is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes, and is carried out by hanging - a legacy of British colonial rule.

"Drug-related offences will be different and consideration must be given to convicts who, for example, were drug mules, as compared to those who committed heinous crimes", said Mr Liew.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

The government made a decision to scrap capital punishment because there had been strong domestic opposition to the practice. A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 per cent of the 60,000 behind bars.

However, Liew said that if their sentence is commuted then the inmates will have to face life imprisonment because they have been the cause of several deaths, which is why they were given the death penalty in the first place.

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

Latest News