Monday, March 19, 2007




Death Penalty for “Terrorist” and “Terrorist

Financiers” Unsafe and Unacceptable

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is shocked and disappointed that Malaysia has created new offence carrying the death penalty. This is in direct contrast to the worldwide trend towards abolition and the limiting of the death penalty.

It was reported recently that those convicted of terror acts that cause death will now face the mandatory death penalty. (Star 18/3/2007: Terrorists who cause death to hang). The new law, which comes under the amended Penal Code, came into effect on March 6. Under the amendment, those convicted of giving financial aid to such terrorists will also meet the same fate – death. If no death is caused, the convicted persons would be liable to a jail sentence of seven to 30 years and a fine.

It came into effect a day after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz signed the gazette notice on March 5. Ironically, this was the same Minister who was reported in 2006 saying “For me, a life is a life. No one has the right to take someone else's life, even if that person has taken another life,.."

It is not possible in any system of human justice to prevent the horrifying possibility of the execution of innocent persons; and the infliction of the death penalty makes wrongful convictions irreversible. In an age, when it is possible to isolate persons guilty of the most heinous of crimes from society by the imposition of life imprisonment, there can be no more justification for the usage of the death penalty.

The Malaysian Bar, a body representing over 12,000 Malaysian lawyers, at its 60th Annual General Meeting held on 18/3/2006 passed a Resolution calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia, an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition and the commutation of the sentences of all persons currently on death row.

It must also be pointed out that a television poll done by RTM 2 during the Hello on Two programme on 7/5/2006 showed that 64% of Malaysians are for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. This program has an estimated audience of 80,000. It is thus important that members of Parliament, the representatives of the people respond to the aspirations of Malaysians and remove the death penalty from the laws of Malaysia.

It is ironic that at a time when the nations of the world are rapidly moving towards abolition of the death penalty, Malaysia is once again unnecessarily and imprudently extending the range of capital offences. Today, 128 countries have abolished capital punishment in law or practice as opposed to 69 countries which retain the death penalty. Philippines and Albania are the most recent addition to the list of death penalty abolitionist nations.

MADPET reiterates its call for an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition, and the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.

N. Surendran

Charles Hector

for Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)

20th March 2007

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