Friday, October 11, 2019

Bill to abolish mandatory death penalty will be tabled in March 2020 - Further procrastination..

The Bill to abolish mandatory death penalty will not be tabled in this parliamentary session but only in the March 2020 session...or will the government come up with new reasons for delay...or simply making yet another U-turn.

Well, MADPET suspected that the setting up of this 'special committee' or 'Task Force' would be used as another reason for the Pakatan Harapan government to delay the abolition of even the mandatory death penalty.  See MADPET media statement -‘Special Committee’ Another Excuse For Delay in Abolition of Mandatory Penalty? Delay Prejudices Many Accused Persons Whose Trial Commenced Before Abolition becomes Law

In our recent statement, Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty should happen in this Parliamentary Session- MADPET, we also pointed out that such committee could have been a year ago or before...

MADPET was concerned about the recent setting up of a special committee in September 2019 to look into alternatives to the death sentence which may end up just being yet another excuse to delay abolition of the mandatory death penalty. Such committees or task force could have been set up last year since the decision to abolish the death penalty. It could have been even earlier, for the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was an election promise of Pakatan Harapan.

Minister: Bill to repeal death penalty to be tabled in March 2020

Datuk Liew Vui Keong speaks to reporters in Parliament October 10, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Liew Vui Keong speaks to reporters in Parliament October 10, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — The Bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March 2020, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

Liew said the findings and reports of the special committee set up to study the alternative forms of punishment to the mandatory death penalty were expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“Last August, the government agreed to set up a special committee comprising nine experts to conduct a comprehensive study on the alternative punishments for the mandatory death sentence.

“In addition, it will also study the court’s discretion in imposing punishments, taking into account the concept of restorative justice, the implications and the welfare of the victims and propose appropriate penalties for such offences,” he said in a statement here.

Liew said the special committee which had its first meeting on September 20 would conduct a holistic and independent law review taking into account the theoretical and practical perspectives of the experts.

Liew said there were 33 offences under the existing laws that carried the death sentence with 11 of them were mandatory.

He said of the 11 offences that led to the mandatory death sentence, nine of them were offences under the Penal Code and two others under the Firearms (heavier penalty) Act 1971. — Bernama - Malay Mail, 10/10/2019

Bill to abolish mandatory death penalty will be tabled in March 2020

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong says a special task force will be organising consultation sessions with stakeholders.
PETALING JAYA: The bill to abolish the mandatory death penalty for 11 serious offences is expected to be tabled in the next parliamentary sitting in March next year, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

He said a special task force will be conducting holistic and independent checks on the law and organising consultation sessions with stakeholders to gather their views.

“The findings and the task force’s report will be presented to the monitoring committee before being handed over to the Cabinet.

“The study is expected to be completed in three months (by the end of 2019). The special task force had its first meeting on Sept 20,” he said in a statement today.

The task force, formed in August, comprises representatives of government agencies, academia, civil society and other relevant parties.

It will study the technical aspects relating to the abolition, apart from looking at alternatives to the maximum penalty.

Liew reiterated that this was in line with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) election manifesto and showed the government’s commitment to the protection and preservation of human rights.

The bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty was expected to be tabled in Parliament this month once the government had decided on appropriate prison terms for 11 serious criminal offences covered by it.

Currently, the 11 offences fall under two acts — nine under the Penal Code, including murder, waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and committing terrorist acts — and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971. - Free Malaysia Today, 10/10/2019

ADPAN Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty


ADPAN Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty
 
This year marks the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty on the 10th of October, abolitionists around the world will highlight the plight of children whose parent(s) have been sentenced to death, or executed.

ADPAN joins in to recognize that the psychological and emotional trauma experienced by children under such circumstances is profound, and has long-term and often devastating impacts.

Unfortunately, Asia has the highest number of executions in the world. In 2018, Amnesty International recorded at least 1100 new death sentences and 136 executions in the Asia-Pacific. Thailand resumed executions for the first time since 2009; Japan tripled its annual figure (from 4 to 15 executions); Singapore executed 13 prisoners. Excluding China, Amnesty reported that 78% of all reported executions took place in just four countries : Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iraq.

Behind each and every death sentence and execution lies the human stories of the sufferings of the family and the loved one. Children remain the unseen victim. Stigma and discrimination often accompany them wherever they go. Many studies have highlighted the fact that the death penalty is often imposed on the poor and marginalized, who have no means to be effectively represented, within a “cracked” judicial system. Thus, the possibilities of wrongful conviction are high.

ADPAN condemns all forms of violence, including state violence. The pains suffered by the family of the prisoner because state violence against the accused are no less nor can it be justified in any way. When the state executes a person, it means another person loses a son, a father, a husband. This is the reality of the death penalty.

ADPAN advocates for restorative justice, a system based on reconciliation and second chance. We believe that this is a system that moves humanity.

ADPAN strives for a world without the death penalty. Today, we call on all Governments that retain the death penalty to strengthen their political will and abolish the death penalty. In the meantime, there should be no execution!



Issued by:
ADPAN Executive Committee
10th October 2019

MP Kasthuri Patto media statement on Death Penalty - lot of facts and stats

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan, International Secretary for Wanita DAP and member of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for Human Rights and Gender Equality Kasthuri Patto on Wednesday 9 October 2019 in Parliament Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia’s move to abolish the mandatory death penalty is a valiant display of courage to uphold restorative justice and to return discretionary judiciary powers back to the courts as a breakthrough to fight crime and punish criminals instead of ending lives.

10 October 2019 sees the 17th commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty and to date, 106 countries have abolished the death penalty and 56 countries and territories are retentionist countries and still continue to execute, including Malaysia where the last execution was carried out in January 2018. A moratorium on all executions was signed by the Minister of Law in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong last year after Pakatan Harapan became the new Government in Malaysia.

Malaysia has 33 crimes that warrant the death penalty from 8 different Acts. Only 11 crimes carry the mandatory death penalty from 2 separate Acts; 9 crimes from the Penal Code and the 2 from Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act, will be abolished and discretionary powers will be given to judges to make a decision to uphold justice, rule of law and the Federal Constitution.

To date, the number of death row inmates stands at 1293 and more than half of the inmates are Malaysians (55%) and the remainder are foreigners (45%). Ethnically death row inmates are estimated at 49% Malays constituting 340 inmates, 24% Indians making up 177 inmates, 168 inmates making up 23% of Chinese ethnicity, and about 4% making up Sikhs, Bajaus, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Bugis, Dusun and Kadazans. As for foreigners, the top 5 countries with the highest number of death row inmates are from Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Philippines, Thailand out of 44 countries in total.

Of that total Muslims make up the highest number of death row inmates at 50%, Christians and Catholics at 20%, Hindus and Buddhists at 14% each and the balance profess Sikhism, Bahai, Pagans and people of no religious belief.

The largest proportion of people on death row are those who come from a low socio-economic backgrounds with permanent jobs, those who don’t have a permanent jobs and those who are jobless making up 86% of men and women on death row as ‘banduan akhir’. This is evident enough that better economic opportunities, education, adequate and fair wages, positioning in social strata is a definitive and a huge influencing factor that drives a person to commit a crime or not. Apart from that, access to drugs and alcohol is normally the last nail in the coffin that pushes a person to the edge to break the law and commit heinous crimes.

Article 5 enshrined in the Federal Constitution protects the right to life stating “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.” Having said that, while the right to life is protected and conserved in many religious beliefs, let me state clearly and firmly that criminals MUST be punished, and there shall not be an inkling of doubt about that. However, executing a person is out of the question.

Countries that have abolished the death penalty have visibly proven lower crime rates including that of murder and countries that have the death penalty have numbers that inadvertently show an increase or a status quo of crimes committed there. The death penalty is NOT a deterrent to crime as the number of death row inmates in Malaysia is on an increase whereas crime remains the same. So, the onus should be on enforcement and fighting crime and not ending lives.
Apart from that, there are all the elements of a miscarriage of justice that may happen from the moment a crime is committed to the point of a verdict being delivered in court – worse when the hands of judges are tied with the mandatory death penalty. The use of torture to extract confessions, miscommunications with language being a barrier, corruption, inefficiency in collecting and filing evidences, the sentiments of the judiciary, perjury are all perfect miscarriages of justice. Again, make no mistake, criminals must be punished but never by execution.

No legal system is perfect in the world. However, the glaring elephant in the room is that the death penalty is a form of punishment of no return. If an innocent man or woman is executed, is it not a forcible violation of injustice of any Government and the people? Do we want to be part of the execution team in taking the life of a person when there is an option of imprisonment?  

According to Penang Institute, “high revision rates of 55% and 59% respectively for S39B Dangerous Drugs Act cases occurred in years 2013 and 2016. The volatile nature and inconsistency of judgment for death penalty cases is indeed worrying. The conviction or sentencing of a person is ultimately decided by the Federal Court but of the 20 Federal Court judgement cases 10 cases (50%) had their decisions revised; three cases (15%) had their decisions reversed twice from the High Court; and six suspects (30%) were freed from the gallows. This concludes that judicial errors can occur at any level.

In Oct 2017, a Korean student who was charged under 39B for trafficking drugs had his decision reversed and freed by the Seremban High Court when the Raiding Officer who was also the main witness was found to have lied in court during cross examination. The Raiding officer is said to have conducted over 20 other raids in his lifetime. It is not spine chilling to think about the 20 other raids that he had conducted? Had the counsel not grilled him enough, he may have walked out of the court, a liar who could have sent an innocent person to be hanged. That person could be your son or daughter, your grandchildren or your husband or wife, father or mother.

Mainthan Arumugam from Kuala Lumpur is on death row, entering his 15th year now. His lawyers Sherrie and Amir Hamzah who are also human rights advocates query “Who is this victim that Mainthan had murdered? The identity of the victim was raised at the first review application made by Mainthan and it was dismissed. Subsequently, a person who claimed that he was the only victim turned up in late 2016, but the new evidence was also dismissed by the courts. A total of 19 different judges have heard Mainthan’s case since 2004.” The original charge sheet listed the victim as "Manivanan a/l Vellasamy" even though he held an Indian passport, as the term "a/l" should only apply to Malaysians. This is just one of the grave discrepancies in Mainthan’s case and he is still behind bars. And the shocking thing is, the supposed victim, at this very minute is alive, living and breathing the same air we all do.

In 2009, Sulkarnain bin Alias was charged with the murder of a UiTM lecturer in 2002 having been on death row for 17 years. His case is also one of discrepancies and loopholes. The main suspect was freed and became the main witness. A farce because he is the only one who knew the victim and was the alleged mastermind behind the crime. The sniffer dogs had led the team to the main suspect but the courts had rejected it despite the fact that the prosecutors themselves had raised ‘reasonable doubts” surrounding these evidences, the date, time and place in the charge varied from the date, time and place of the time of death.

From a religious point of argument, let us not forget that Jesus was a victim of a gross mistrial, a miscarriage of justice, a flawed public opinion, which led to him being a victim of the death penalty by crucifixion. In Buddhism the First Precept stresses on abstinence from killing or injuring any living creature and thus the death penalty is inconsistent with Buddhist teachings advocating compassion for all. Hinduism advocates ahimsa which is the principle of non-violence including opposing acts of killing, violence and revenge.

According to the Mufti of Federal Territories “the philosophy of Islamic jurisprudence is based on five universal basic requirements for the preservation of religion, life, aqal, posterity and property for humanity. Muslims believe these five rights if properly preserved and guaranteed will create a good life both in the world and in the hereafter. We believe that the mandatory death penalty for murder offenses should be reviewed with consideration of the deceased's family and the second chance for the killer. This is a very important step to be read at the national level. Whereas for other offenses provided for by mandatory sanctions by civil law but not in Islamic Shariah, we also recommend that the re-examination of the sentence be justified if the findings of research data made by the relevant authorities indicate the level of effectiveness weak in execution.

These and many other cases of miscarriages of justice are evident around us, but as a society, as a people, as a community and as Malaysians, we must ensure that justice is served for the family of the deceased and the family of the accused.

An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind and the move by the Malaysian government to abolish the mandatory death penalty is a courageous step in the right direction that would advocate for restorative justice and to give discretionary powers back to courts for the judges to make a decision to mete out the death penalty or not.

There is no place in a new Malaysia for the death penalty.

Kasthuri Patto
Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan
International Secretary for Wanita DAP
Member of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for Human Rights and Gender Equality


Amnesty International urges Malaysia to end death penalty

Amnesty International urges Malaysia to end death penalty

Shamini Darshni Kalimuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, seeks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Amnesty International has urged Malaysia to abolish the death penalty, saying unfair trials and the use of harsh treatment to obtain confessions put people at risk of execution. AP Photo
 
Amnesty International urged Malaysia's government on Thursday to keep its promise to abolish the death penalty, saying unfair trials and the use of harsh treatment to obtain confessions put people at risk of execution.

The rights group released details of nearly two years of research on 150 cases as well as interviews with prisoners' families, lawyers and embassy officials in a report that it said showed the use of the death penalty was "fatally flawed."

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government promised shortly after taking power in May 2018 to scrap capital punishment, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping and acts of terror.

But the government backtracked after public objection. Parliament, which resumed meeting this week, will instead remove mandatory death penalties for some offenses and give courts discretion in imposing the sentence.

The report said 73% of the 1,281 people on death row as of February were convicted of drug offenses, including 568 foreigners from 43 countries and many poor members of ethnic minorities.

It said some prisoners were tortured and beaten to make them confess. In one case, a Malaysian man detained in 2005 for possessing drugs and later sentenced to death had his finger broken by police, who also threatened to beat up his girlfriend, it said.

Those who are poor often go without legal assistance until they are brought to court, it said. Some were asked to sign documents in the Malay language that were not translated for them, according to the report.

The group said the pardon process was also not transparent, with no clear criteria and access to pro-bono legal services controlled by prison officials. It said half of the foreigners on death row didn't seek pardons.

"Our research found a pattern of unfair trials and secretive hangings that itself spoke volumes. From allegations of torture and other ill-treatment to an opaque pardons process, it's clear the death penalty is a stain on Malaysia's criminal justice system," Amnesty Malaysia director Sharmini Darshni Kaliemuthu said.

The group said its requests to meet Malaysian authorities including the police and officials in the attorney-general's office for more details were rejected or unanswered.

It said government sources indicated 469 people had been executed since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957, half of them for drug trafficking.

The death penalty is currently retained for nearly three dozen offenses. Amnesty International urged Malaysia to move toward scrapping capital punishment by repealing mandatory death sentences for all crimes and maintaining a moratorium on executions until then.

Government officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Many Asian countries including China, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam impose capital punishment. - The Charlotte Observer, 10/10/2019


Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article235983858.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, October 10, 2019

MADPET's Media Statement reported in Malaysiakini News Report - Arrest of 2 Wakil Rakyat using SOSMA

MADPET's Media Statement Release 2 Wakil Rakyat (Elected Peoples’ Representative) Detained under SOSMA was reported in this news report below


NEWS

Guan Eng: Cops assured no more arrests of DAP reps in LTTE crackdown

Published:  |  Modified:
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the police informed him that no more DAP leaders will be arrested in relation to a police crackdown on alleged Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) elements in Malaysia.

This is after police arrested seven people, including DAP's Malacca exco G Saminathan, who is also the Gadek assemblyperson and Seremban Jaya assemblyperson P Gunasekaran over their alleged links to the LTTE, claiming that the Sri Lankan rebel group was planning an attack on the Sri Lankan High Commission in Malaysia.

"I was also informed that whilst more people will be arrested for alleged links to LTTE, no more leaders or wakil rakyats from DAP will be targeted," he said in a statement today.

Earlier today, DAP's Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, who has been public about his sympathies for ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, conceded that he too may be arrested but was unfazed, stating that it was no different from his sympathies for the Rohingyas in Myanmar, and Muslims in Mindanao and Palestine.

Lim said the arrests were shocking and had expressed to the police that the DAP believed in the innocence of its two assemblypersons after a briefing from the police.

"Their involvement in the DAP so far has shown no indication that the two were involved in any activities that departed from the party’s stand of moderation, non-violence and peaceful resolution," he said.

Lim noted that the police claim to have "concrete proof" to make the arrests and had "referred to all relevant authorities at the highest level" before taking action.

He said DAP will provide a legal team to assist the two DAP leaders led by Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Jelutong MP RSN Rayer.

"The police promised a speedy investigation to allow for the submission of their investigation papers to the Attorney-General Chambers and enable our two DAP leaders to be released early.

"The police also promised to provide the families and legal counsel access to our two legislators.

"Both our legislators were praised by the police for co-operating fully and calmly with the police during their arrests," he said.

However, lawyer Haniff Khatri (above), who has acted for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, criticised Lim's statement, stating that it could create a negative perception. 

"How can the police give information that no more DAP elected representatives would be targeted when the investigation has yet to conclude?" he said in a statement.

Hanif said it is natural for political parties, particularly those in power, want to ensure that its elected representatives are not entangled in serious allegations such as terrorism.

However, he stressed that Harapan leaders should not make any statements that could give rise to the suspicion of government interference.

"While Harapan may be affected by the terrorism allegations, it must always uphold the rule of law and distance itself from any action or statements that could lead to a negative perception that the government is interfering in the rule of law," he said.

Detention without trial criticised

Meanwhile, the Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) criticised the detention without trial under Sosma.

"It must be reminded that the police has power to investigate without even arresting or detaining any suspects.

"Our former premier Najib Abdul Razak, during the investigations (on the 1MDB scandal), was never detained in police lock-ups demonstrates how Malaysian police can still proceed with investigations without even resorting to remand orders and certainly not Sosma," said Madpet spokesperson Charles Hector.

Charles said Sosma is vague and its definition of "security offences", and possession of books or even activities deemed detrimental to parliamentary democracy, that are not clearly defined, are considered offences.

He said it should have at least been limited to offences involving violence and firearms.

"Malaysia ought to respect justice and human rights, which also means that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty after a fair trial.

"This also must include the needed checks and balances to prevent police abuses, which includes the right to be brought before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, and the right to be further remanded only if the Magistrate allows for it after according the right to be heard to all parties, the right to be remanded at any one time in accordance to the limits now in the Criminal Procedure Code, the right to bail and the right to a fair trial.

"Sosma is an affront to justice and human rights, and it should be immediately repealed.

"Every one arrested, charged and tried should be accorded the same rights and standards as provided for in our Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act," he said. - Malaysiakini, 10/10/2019

Abolition of mandatory death penalty should happen in this parliamentary session (Malay Mail)

Abolition of mandatory death penalty should happen in this parliamentary session ― Charles Hector

OCTOBER 10 ― On the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, which falls on October 10, MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) notes sadly that Malaysia has yet to abolish the death penalty, let alone the mandatory death penalty.

In 2018, on the World Day Against Death Penalty, it was announced that the Malaysian Cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty not just the mandatory death penalty.

This abolition would have facilitated the return of Sirul Azhar Umar, now in Australia, an abolitionist nation, that refuse to repatriate him back to Malaysia as he faces the risk of execution. Sirul was seen by many as an important witness that may lead to the identification and prosecution of the other persons who were behind the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two. 

The abolition of the death penalty would also eliminate the possibility of execution of innocent persons ― miscarriage of justice. The police, prosecutors, judges and even lawyers of the accused, all being human beings, are not infallible and could cause the wrongful execution of persons. We recall the case when in January 2011, when Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice admitted that Chiang Kuo-ching, a private in the Air Force, had been executed in error in 1997 for a murder committed 15 years previously.

In Malaysia, it has also been shown that death penalty, even the mandatory death penalty has not deterred crime. In 2017, it was revealed in Parliament that there was an increase of drug cases every year despite the drastic measures taken by the police, which we could take as including the fact of the existence of the mandatory death penalty for section 39B DDA 1952 – drug trafficking. It may be same for murder, but it is difficult as Malaysia stopped revealing actual statistics under the previous government.

The failure of government resulting in poverty may also be the cause of many crimes including those that now carry the death penalty.

On October 10, 2019, the 17th World Day Against the Death Penalty aims at raising awareness on the rights of children whose parents have been sentenced to death or executed. Malaysia, a party of the Child Rights Convention, now should have the best interest of the child has become a major concern. The execution of a parent, sibling or relative of any child is certainly never in the best interest of the child.

The abolition of the death penalty is also consistent with the Malaysian policy with crime and sentencing. We believe in second chances. When one pleads guilty, the sentence is reduced by a third. For those in prison, good behaviour and rehabilitation will lead to remission of sentence and early release. All these values and principles cannot apply when one is sentenced to death or mandatory death penalty.

U-turn on decision to abolish death penalty

However, on March 13, 2019, Malaysian cabinet did a U-turn on abolishing the death penalty for all 33 offences, and instead agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty for all 11 mandatory death penalty offences.

Since the Pakatan Harapan is a coalition government made up of four to five parties, it would be interesting to know which party changed its position on abolition and why. Through its MPs, we believe that DAP was an abolitionist party, but its current position now is a mystery.

Sadly, we have yet to see any tabling any Bills in Parliament to date that will effectively abolish the mandatory death penalty. The earlier indication was that these Bill/s will be tabled in the current Parliamentary session which began in October 2019.

MADPET was concerned about the recent setting up of a special committee in September 2019 to look into alternatives to the death sentence would just be another excuse to delay abolition of the mandatory death penalty. Such committees or task force could have been set up last year since the decision to abolish the death penalty. It could have been even earlier, for the abolition of the mandatory death penalty was an election promise of Pakatan Harapan.

We reiterate that the mandatory death penalty could be immediately abolished, which will mean that judges will then have the discretion to sentence people to imprisonment or death. For the time being, it could simply be life imprisonment or natural life imprisonment. Later, if a better “alternative sentence” comes from this or that “committee”, “task force”  or consultations, the Act can always be further amended later.

The abolition of the mandatory death penalty should not be further delayed by the government.

Accused persons now on trial or whose trial starts before the abolition will be greatly prejudiced as both prosecution and defence lawyers may be adducing evidence only towards finding of guilt or innocence. They will not be adducing evidence as to why a person should receive a lesser sentence since the courts have no discretion as to sentence when they can only provide the one mandatory sentence.

MADPET is also against all mandatory sentences, as it removes judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing. Laws should only provide for maybe maximum sentences, and trust in our judges to impose a just sentence on each and every convicted after taking all facts and circumstances into consideration.

Malaysia created history in December 2018, when it voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the abolition of the death penalty.

MADPET hopes that the abolition of the mandatory death penalty is just the first step, towards a total abolition of the death penalty which we hope will happen soon, certainly before the next general elections.

MADPET calls for the immediate tabling of the Bill/s to abolish the mandatory death penalty in this current Parliamentary session, for any other additional amendments could very easily be brought in by subsequent amendments later on;

MADPET calls for the passing of an Act of Parliament that will have the effect of commuting the death sentence of about 1,200 on death row, especially those that have exhausted their appeals in court;

MADPET also calls for further amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, where mandatory death penalty has already been abolished, to allow judges to consider all mitigating and aggravating circumstances and remove the limitations/conditions now in that law;

MADPET calls for a moratorium on all executions, pending the total abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. - Malay Mail, 10/10/2019

See updated Media Statement  at 

Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty should happen in this Parliamentary Session- MADPET

Release 2 Wakil Rakyat (Elected Peoples’ Representative) Detained under SOSMA


Media Statement – 10/10/2019

Release 2 Wakil Rakyat (Elected Peoples’ Representative) Detained under SOSMA

Immediate moratorium on use of SOSMA pending repeal

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) condemns the continued use of  the draconian Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012[SOSMA], and the recent arrest of Negri Sembilan DAP deputy chairman and Seremban Jaya assemblyman, P Gunasekaran, and Gadek assemblyman G Saminathan.(New Straits Times, 10/10/2019).

If SOSMA is used, then the police do not even have to bring the person arrested before the Magistrate within 24 hours, to obtain a remand order to keep them in detention for further investigations.  

After 24 hours, section 4(5) of SOSMA states, ‘(5) Notwithstanding subsection (4), a police officer of or above the rank of Superintendent of Police may extend the period of detention for a period of not more than twenty-eight days, for the purpose of investigation.’. Hence, there is no need to even get a Magistrate’s remand order. The power for further remand is removed from the Magistrate and transferred to a mere police officer.

Our Malaysian Federal Constitution in Article 5(4), states amongst others, ‘…(4) Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate’s authority…’.

Our Criminal Procedure Code deals with what happens after arrest if further detention order is required by police, whereby section  ‘(1) Whenever any person is arrested and detained in custody and it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within the period of twenty-four hours fixed by section 28 and there are grounds for believing that the accusation or information is well founded the police officer making the investigation shall immediately transmit to a Magistrate a copy of the entries in the diary hereinafter prescribed relating to the case and shall at the same time produce the accused before the Magistrate.’ The arrested suspect (and/or lawyer), the public prosecutor and the police all have a right to be heard before the Magistrate decides on a remand application.

However, if the police rely on SOSMA, then there is no more the requirement for the police to bring the person arrested before the Magistrate within 24 hours. The police can simply continue to detain the ‘suspect’ of any one of the about 70-100 ‘security offences’ listed now in SOSMA for up to 28 days.

The need to bring before a Magistrate within 24 hours and the need for application to the Magistrate for further remand orders, gives the Magistrate the opportunity to ensure no police wrongdoings, and that these further detentions are really needed for investigation purposes and not for some  other ‘wrong’ or illegal objectives, including maybe the ‘torture’ of suspects.

It is important to note that such detention is for investigation only – not for punishment or even reasons like ‘rehabilitation’.

There was a problem before where Magistrate simply handed out remand orders for the full 14 days, being the maximum amount of remand permissible. Parliament, in its wisdom amended the Act, and set the maximum remand period that Magistrate can order. Now, even for a murder suspect, the maximum remand order on first application to Magistrate  is 7 days.

Section 117((2) now reads as follows, ‘ The Magistrate before whom an accused person is produced under this section may, whether he has or has no jurisdiction to try the case, authorize the detention of the accused in such custody as follows:
(a) if the offence which is being investigated is punishable with imprisonment of less than fourteen years, the detention shall not be more than four days on the first application and shall not be more than three days on the second application; or
(b) if the offence which is being investigated is punishable with death or imprisonment of fourteen years or more, the detention shall not be more than seven days on the first application and shall not be more than seven days on the second application.

Hence, the importance of the need for judicial monitoring of police or other detaining authorities. The independent Magistrate, who will also give the right to be heard to all concerned will then decide the appropriate remand period for the purpose of investigation. If more time is needed, the police may apply again for further remand.

It must be reminded that police has to power to investigate without even arresting or detaining any suspect.

Najib, our former premier, during the investigations was never detained in police lock-ups demonstrates how Malaysian police can still proceed with investigations without even resorting to remand orders and certainly not SOSMA.

When the government conceded and paid now Member of Parliament Maria Chin Abdullah RM25,000 in damages and RM5,000 in cost, we saw that as an acknowledgement of the evil of SOSMA. (Malay Mail, 18/2/2019).Sadly, we have not heard of other victims of SOSMA being similarly compensated which raises the question whether preferential treatment was accorded to her for being a government Member of Parliament.

Those charged under the Security Offences listed in SOSMA also are also denied bail. if one is charged with any one of over 70-100  ‘security’ offences listed in SOSMA. Section 13(1) states ‘(1) Bail shall not be granted to a person who has been charged with a security offence. This ousts judicial discretion when it comes to granting and refusing bail.

The new Pakatan Harapan could have at least reduced the list of ‘security offences’ to maybe the most serious ones involving violence and firearms. Now, even the possession of books  are listed as ‘security offences’. The Offences concerning ‘activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy’, which was enacted during Najib’s Barisan Nasional Rule, which is vague and ought to be repealed, is also still listed as a ‘security offence’ in SOSMA.

Malaysia ought to respect justice and human rights, which also means that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty after a fair trial. This also must include the needed checks and balances to prevent police abuses which includes the right to be brought before the Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, and the right to be further remanded only if the Magistrate allows for it after according the right to be heard to all parties, the right to be remanded at any one time in accordance to the limits now in the Criminal Procedure Code, the right to bail and the right to a fair trial.

SOSMA is an affront to justice and human rights, and it should be immediately repealed. Every one arrested, charged and tried should be accorded the same rights and standards as provided for in our Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.

Being elected peoples’ representatives of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, these 2 may soon be speedily released. MADPET calls for the release of all detained under SOSMA. Compensation also should be given to all victims of SOSMA.

Supporting certain peoples’ struggles for justice and human rights in other countries, be it the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Rohingyas in Myanmmar or the Palestinians should not be considered supporting terrorism or terrorist organisations.

Malaysia need to be careful in determining who are terrorist groups/organizations, and not just accept what governments in that country say or what some powerful nation/s say are terrorists. The list of terrorist groups should be openly listed. Support for ‘terrorist groups’ should really also be confined to purchase of firearms or supporting violence. Making donations to help in the livelihood of people, reading articles and books, attending events, memorials and exhibitions and similar activities should never be considered supporting terrorisms. A review of all matters concerning ‘terrorism’ is something Malaysia need consider.

Therefore, MADPET

Calls on the Malaysian government to immediately release P Gunasekaran, G Saminathan and all others currently arrested and detained by reason of SOSMA;

Calls on Malaysia to immediately repeal Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012[SOSMA];

Calls on Malaysia, pending the repeal of SOSMA, to immediately amend SOSMA to restore the right to be brought before a Magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, to restore ‘fair hearing’ during remand proceedings where all have the right to be heard, to ensure that further remand only permissible with Magistrate’s orders, and to limit or reduce the list of ‘security offences’ listed in SOSMA including repealing that vague unjust offences related to ‘activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy’;

Call on Malaysia to repeal Detention Without Trial laws and other laws that denies the right to a fair trial, or tries to evade the requirements of our Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act,

Call on the Malaysian government, duly elected by the people, to be strong and act for the wellbeing of the people in accordance to human rights and justice, without being subservient to the wishes and views of the Malaysian police or other enforcement agencies,

Call for an immediate moratorium on the use of SOSMA, and

Call on Malaysia to respect human rights and justice.

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)



SEREMBAN: Police have arrested two DAP assemblymen from Melaka and Negri Sembilan this morning.

Negri Sembilan DAP deputy chairman and Seremban Jaya assemblyman, P Gunasekaran, was arrested by a team of police officers from Bukit Aman at his house in Kampung Baru Rahang at around 9.58am, while Gadek assemblyman G Saminathan was arrested at his office at around 8.45am.

It was learnt that both were arrested under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, believed over their alleged links to the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the separatist group which was involved in the decades-old civil war in Sri Lanka.

Negri Sembilan DAP vice-chairman Teo Kok Seong expressed shock over the arrest, saying that Gunasekaran is a respected assemblyman.

“We are not informed on the reason of arrest. We ask that the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) clarify this matter and hope Gunasekaran will give full cooperation to the police,” he said in a press conference at Seremban Jaya here.

Meanwhile, Saminathan’s arrest was confirmed by Chief Minister Adly Zahari at the Exco press conference in Seri Negeri, Melaka.

However, Adly could not ascertain the reason of arrest.

Police have arrested two DAP assemblymen from Melaka and Negri Sembilan this morning. - FILE PIC - New Straits Times, 10/10/2019