MADPET is for the Abolition of Death Penalty, an end of torture and abuse of rights by the police, an end to death in custody, an end to police shoot to kill incidents, for greater safeguards to ensure a fair trial, for a right to one phone call and immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, for the repeal of all laws that allow for detention without trial and an immediate release of all those who are under such draconian laws.
Monday, October 10, 2016
FMT News - Hoping for an end to the death penalty in M’sia
Hoping for an end to the death penalty in M’sia
October 10, 2016
Despite the country being on the verge of abolishing
the death penalty, it is most disturbing that in 2016 alone Malaysia
By Charles Hector
On October 10, 2016, the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty,
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) calls on Malaysia
to expedite the abolition of the Death Penalty, and to impose a
moratorium on all executions against the Death Penalty.
Malaysia on track towards abolition
In a news report, Nancy Shukri, the then minister in the Prime
Minister’s Department, did say she hoped to take her proposal to amend
the Penal Code and abolish the mandatory death sentence to the Dewan
Rakyat as early as March 2016.
A few days before that, in another news report, Attorney-General
Apandi Ali said he would propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death
penalty be scrapped, so that judges are given the option to choose
between sentencing a person to jail or the gallows.
Malaysia was accorded a space of importance at the recent 6th World
Congress Against the Death Penalty, organised in Oslo (Norway) from June
21-23, 2016, where the de facto Minister of Law, Nancy Shukri, was
expected make a positive announcement about Malaysia’s intention to
abolish the death Penalty. Sadly, the Minister could only confirm that
Malaysia was still moving in that direction, but she could not be more
specific about exactly when these proposed amendments would be tabled in
Nancy told the World Congress that a government-backed study on the
death penalty had been completed and a paper was being readied by the
Attorney-General’s Chambers. The study was conducted by the
International Centre For Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS). The consultant
was then Professor Dr Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology and Emeritus
Fellow of All Souls College Oxford.
The Minister also told news portal Malaysiakini at the sidelines of
the Sixth World Congress that the study had been completed about two
Death penalty is no deterrent
Nancy Shukri previously also said that empirical studies showed that
the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a
penalty was created for.”
This was consistent with the facts the then Home Minister,
Hishammuddin Hussein revealed to the Malaysian Parliament in March 2012,
which showed that police statistics for the arrests of drug dealers
under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the
mandatory death penalty, for the past three years (2009 to 2011) have
shown an increase. In 2009, there were 2,955 arrested under this
section. In 2010, 3,700 people were arrested, whilst in 2011, there were
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairperson Lee Lam Thye
also did note in July 2013 that the death sentence had not deterred the
Cases like that of Malaysian Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim, 24, a graduate
from a poor Malay family of rice farmers, and young Malaysian Yong Vui
Kong who were once facing death for drug trafficking overseas, who since
then had their sentences commuted, have opened the eyes of most
Malaysians of the fact that many of the persons facing the death penalty
for drug trafficking are really ‘mules’, many of whom are young people
who have been tricked, or those who are financially disadvantaged. They
are certainly not the kingpins of drug trafficking, and certainly do not
deserve to be hanged.
Mandatory death penalty
Currently in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for about 12
offences, while about 20 other offences are punishable by a
discretionary death penalty. Murder and Drug Trafficking carry the
mandatory death penalty.
Likewise, the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971 provides for
the mandatory death penalty if firearms are discharged with intent to
cause death or hurt to any person, shall, notwithstanding that no hurt
is caused for offences like extortion, robbery, kidnaping, house
breaking or house trespass, and such mandatory death penalty would also
increase the risk the death of victims and/or potential witnesses. It is
all the more important for the mandatory death penalty to be abolished
where no hurt/death results.
The mandatory death penalty must be totally abolished, and
considering Malaysia is on the verge of abolishing the death penalty,
especially the mandatory death penalty, it was most disturbing that
Malaysia in 2016 executed four persons, who were convicted for murder
which carried the mandatory death penalty. Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu,
Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar were executed on March 25,
whilst Ahmad Najib Aris was executed less than three weeks ago on Sept
Immediate moratorium on all executions needed now
We recall that Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Malaysia’s current AICHR (Asean
Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights) representative, was
reported saying: “…Malaysia’s moratorium, I understand, is only for drug
trafficking cases…” It must be noted that Human Rights Commission of
Malaysia (Suhakam), also did reiterate on March 29 their recommendation
that a moratorium on the use of the death penalty be put in place in
Madpet believes that there must be a moratorium on executions of everyone, not just those convicted for drug trafficking.
Why the delay in the tabling of these amendments?
Madpet notes that Malaysia informed us that the study was completed
in early April or May this year, and all that was needed was for the
Attorney-General’s Chambers to draft and thereafter submit the proposed
amendments to be tabled by the Government in Parliament, which we hope
will happen soon in the upcoming Parliamentary session this October.
Madpet urges Azalina Othman, who replaced Nancy Shukri in mid-July as
the new de facto Minister of Law, to expedite the tabling of the much
needed amendments that will abolish the death penalty.
Madpet also urges that Malaysia announce a moratorium on ALL
executions, not just for drug trafficking, pending the tabling of
amendments, that would see the abolition of the mandatory death penalty,
and hopefully also the abolition of the death penalty. As of May 16,
there are 1,041 persons on death row.
Madpet also urges Malaysia to vote in favour of the upcoming United
Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for a moratorium on
executions pending abolition of the death penalty, or at the very least
record a vote of abstention.
Madpet reiterates its call for Malaysia to abolish the death penalty,
and hopes that by the next World Day Against the Death Penalty,
Malaysia will proudly stand amongst countries that have abolished the
Charles Hector is spokesman for Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet).
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