Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024
Death PenaltyImage Credits: Ahmad Yusni/EPA

The Malaysian government has confirmed that it has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty. However, the death penalty remains unchanged for several offenses, like murder and drug trafficking.

A previous government in Pakatan Harapan had vowed to abolish capital punishment completely in 2018, but the plan was derailed by a political fiasco. Since then, the Southeast Asian nation has had a moratorium on executions.

On Friday, Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the cabinet had agreed to abolish capital punishment.

“This shows the government’s emphasis on ensuring the rights of all parties are protected and guaranteed,” the Law Minister said.

After reviewing the findings of the report, the government will now be considering the proposed alternatives, he said.

As far as heinous crimes are concerned, for which the death penalty is mandatory, there are a few other offences where the death penalty could be handed down at the discretion of the judge.

However, the statement of Law Minister Wan Jaffar does not shed any light on the fundamental question of when the government expects to conclude the review or provide any information regarding the changes. He told AFP that it would “take a while.”

“Malaysia’s public pronouncement that it will do away with the mandatory is an important step forward,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), told AFP.

“But before everyone starts cheering, we need to see Malaysia pass the actual legislative amendments to put this pledge into effect,” he added.

He further highlighted the dissatisfying trend of the government by stating that the authorities were “promising much on human rights but ultimately delivering very little.”


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