Sunday, November 12, 2017
Judges to get discretionary powers over death sentence, says Apandi (Malaysian Insight)
The Attorney-General’s Chambers is ready to present to Parliament the draft bill to amend the Dangerous Drug (Bill) 2017 prescribing mandatory capital punishment for drug traffickers.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said the amendment would allow the judges to exercise discretion in meting out the mandatory death sentence.
He said the proposed amendments were drafted based on his experience as a judge.
"The amendments are from me and are based on my experience as a High Court and Appeals Court judge.
"Many judges find it difficult to pass the death sentence on offenders whom they feel do not deserve the punishment.
"But they have no choice because it is mandatory. Therefore, I propose that the government be more flexible and do not discriminate against the offenders, "he told a press conference in Putrajaya today.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Azalina Othman had revealed during a question-and-answer session in Parliament that the AGC was in discussions with various government agencies to amend the act for mandatory capital punishment.
Azalina revealed this when replying to a question from Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who had wanted to know whether the government was abolishing the death sentence and would postpone all executions during the moratorium.
Apandi said the draft amendments also included guidelines for the judge to identify which offender should or should not be granted the privilege of the judge’s discretionary powers over the death sentence
"In putting forward the idea (of letting the judge decide), we have also identified the offenders who deserve the death sentence and those who do not.
"People reading news reports about drug arrests assume that all who are caught are sentenced to death.
"But it is only those who are distributing and making a profit from drugs who will get the death sentence," he said.