Sunday, October 09, 2016

MP Kasthuri Patto - World Day Against DP Statement

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Monday 10 October 2016 to commemorate the 14th World Day Against Death Penalty campaign organised by Amnesty International in KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia has 4 years left to find its moral compass to end crime, not life if it wants to be respected in the eyes of other progressive, democratic nations.

Today, 10th October is the 14th World Day Against Death Penalty and currently in Malaysia, according to a parliamentary reply last year, 629 Malaysians and 413 foreigners are currently awaiting executions on our very own soil.

To date, 103 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 6 for ordinary crimes, 31 as abolitionists in practice and 140 countries that have removed capital punishment in law and practice. To date, 58 are still retentionist countries.

Malaysia, a country in its 59th year of independence, is sadly still a retentionist country along with other nations that are facing civil wars, rotting human rights standards, gross social and economic inequalities, high crime rates including sexual violence against women and children and human trafficking, slavery, corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

The most recent statement by the former law minister of Malaysia Nancy Shukri, stated that after 3 years of research by the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (I-Cells), and the recommendations by the study would be put forth by cabinet soon. However her statement clearly shifted the goal post by now pinning the reason for delay was also that of the public opinion calling for “an eye for an eye”. This, once again has thrown the spanner in the works and the cabinet is silent (again) on abolishing the mandatory death penalty.

If the Malaysian government feels that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, then it should reflect on the other countries that it is lumped together with, namely Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine (State of), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad And Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States Of America, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Not shockingly, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime statistical reports, National Crime Index Reports, reports on National Corruption and reports of non-government paramilitary actions, some of the nations that have the highest crime rates also have the death penalty used with the intention to deter crimes. These countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, South Sudan are retentionist countries and yet are listed as some of the most dangerous countries in the world this year.

The government had expressed its intentions to abolish the mandatory death penalty last year in November but it is coming to a year now and no amendments have been tabled yet including what will be in this October's sitting.

With the occurrence of crime increasing by the day, be it murders, kidnapping, drug smuggling, child abuse, rape, extortion, burglary, and terrorist-linked activities, it is high time the Home Ministry and the Attorney General's chambers put their heads together to reevaluate initiatives, alphabet-soup programmes as well as crime-combating activities to reduce crime in Malaysia.

Of course, ending crime is a rather utopian concept to many sceptics out there, but it should not deter Malaysians and the Malaysian authorities to work towards it.

After all, is Malaysia not 4 years away from being a developed nation in year 2020?

Clearly, the death penalty has NOT deterred crime in Malaysia and nether should it be a regarded as a solution to reducing crime in the nation.

Malaysia has 4 years left to find its moral compass to end crime, not life if it wants to be respected in the eyes of other progressive, democratic nations.

Kasthuri Patto
Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan
Democratic Action Party

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