Nancy: Malaysia one step closer to amending death penalty
When addressing the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, she mentioned that the Attorney General’s (AG) Chambers had completed a comprehensive study on the death penalty issue that will be prepared for the government’s consideration.
The study – a comprehensive review on the laws and practices of the death penalty in Malaysia – has been undertaken by the International Centre For law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS). The consultant was world renowned expert on death penalty Dr Roger Hood, a Professor of Criminology and Emeritus Fellow of all Souls College Oxford.
“There are positive signs in Malaysia, and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation,” she said when delivering her intervention note at the congress recently.
The de-facto law minister added that at present, the death penalty in the country is mandatory for 12 offences whilst 20 other offences are punishable with discretionary death penalty. Murder, drug trafficking and offences relating to security are instances of offences which are punishable with mandatory death penalty.
“Malaysia does have some safeguards in law and practice to protect the rights of the accused facing the death penalty, inter alia, the right to be promptly informed of the nature of the charge preferred against him, right to legal representative of his own choice and also the right for hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal,” she continued.
Nancy pointed out that although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards insofar as the relevant safeguards (capital punishment) are concerned, its position on death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.
“Amongst the criticisms, although the death penalty has its place, it should be implemented in the most serious of crimes and where there is no reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. Further, there had been no empirical studies to prove that the death penalty didn’t have the deterring effect that such a penalty was hoped to create,” she explained.
Malaysia was invited to participate in the sixth edition of the congress which takes place from June 21 till 23. - Borneo Post, 22/6/2016