UMNO-BN government has been delaying the abolition of the death penalty, and even the Mandatory Death Penalty.
Persons on death row, waiting to be hanged to death, can however be saved - their sentences commuted to maybe imprisonment, life or otherwise by Pardon Boards chaired by the Rulers..
Under Article 42 of the Federal Constitution, Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the King) has the power to grant pardons to convicts, irrespective of the offences committed in the Federal Territories. For offenders in other states, the state Ruler or Sultan has absolute discretion and power to grant pardon.
Information of Pardon Board hearings and outcomes must be made public. The people should have the right to submit their pleas for consideration and action by the King and State Rulers.M Ramachelvam said that at present, each board’s activities were opaque and one did not hear of anything much happening at these meetings.
He also said neither the frequency nor the results of the meetings were made known to others, with the exception of the Johor Pardons Board where there were some commutations of sentences in conjunction with the Sultan of Johor’s coronation.
“We do not know about their meetings. So our recommendation is that they should hold periodic meetings,” he said.
“They can do so quarterly or have half-yearly meetings to look at cases which have come to the pardons boards in the various states,” he said when met on the sidelines of the two-day conference and training workshop titled “Abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia and Asia Pacific” today.
Persons on death row, waiting the day they be hanged to death, should have their sentences committed to imprisonment.
Now, when it comes to foreigners, diplomatic pressure plays a role in successful commutation of death sentences - A similar policy must apply to Malaysians on death row, especially those who are not guilty of personally depriving the life of any victim...The risk of miscarriage of justice and the possibility of hanging an innocent person is very real...
The Johor Sultan, and the Perak Sultan have been reported as having commuted the death sentence - sadly similar just actions to save lives have not been heard of in the Opposition governed States of Selangor, Penang and/or Kelantan. DAP and many Opposition MPs have taken a stand for the abolition of the death penalty - but words alone without action is of little value..
Perak’s Sultan Nazrin commutes death sentences for two
Perak Darul Ridzuan State Pardons Board secretary Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan said the decision was made at the meeting of the board chaired by Sultan Nazrin on October 12.
Puhat said both prisoners were sentenced to death by hanging under Section 39(B)(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 by the Taiping High Court on March 19, 2009 and June 15, 2009 respectively.
"Their appeals have been rejected by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court and they have been in jail for more than 16 years beginning on the date of their remand in 2001.
"With the pardon, both convicts are now serving life imprisonment effective from the date of the meeting (of the Pardons Board on Oct 12),” he said in a statement today.
Puhat added that Sultan Nazrin had said that any punishment meted was to give a lesson to society so that the law would be respected.
"The ruler also said that the pardon or reduced punishment that had been decided by the court would only be considered when the convicts concerned had demonstrated remorse.
"...realised and regretted the offence committed and apologised and behaved well while under detention and demonstrated the determination to begin a new life,” he said. – Bernama, November 1, 2017.- Malaysian Insight, 1/11/2017