Tuesday, October 09, 2018

MADPET - PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’

Media Statement – 10/10/2018 – World Day Against the Death Penalty

PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’
 Abolish the Death Penalty And Commute All Death Sentences -

On 10 October 2018, the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) wants to remind the Malaysian government that it has yet to make good its promise to abolish mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.

In the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto, it was clearly stated that ‘The Pakatan Harapan Government will revoke the following laws: Sedition Act, Prevention of Crime Act 1959…Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts…

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. Many of these mandatory death penalty offences do not even involve in any death or grievous injuries to victims.

The effect of abolishing the mandatory death penalty will restore judicial discretion when it comes to sentencing. Judges, will thereafter, be able to evaluate each and every convicted person and determine what the just and fair sentence should be, after taking into account all factors and circumstances.

The mandatory death penalty is undemocratic as it violates the democratic principle of separation of powers. The legislature (Parliament) has robbed the judiciary of their rightful role and power when it comes to sentencing.

When a law, provides for just one mandatory sentence, in this case death, judges on finding a person guilty of the said offence, have no choice but to sentence the convicted to death, even if he/she justly do not justly deserve to be hanged to death.

Many of the politicians and political parties that are now in power, previously in Opposition, were always for the abolition of the death penalty, but now when in power,, it is disappointing to see that they are procrastinating. Further, it must be reminded that they are yet to make good their election promise to repeal all laws that provide for ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging…’, which was a decision and commitment of all the 4 Pakatan Harapan party.

As of end June, there are 1,267 people on death row or 2.7% of the prison population of about 60,000 people. (Star, 28/6/2018) 35 executions took place from 2007 to 2017

The death penalty in Malaysia currently are provided for in secular or ordinary laws, not in Islamic law. As such there is no reasonable justification for any Muslim in Malaysia to oppose abolition of the death penalty on the grounds that Islam allows death penalty for certain specified offences. In Islam, there is a strict requirement to comply with Islamic Criminal Procedure and Evidential requirements. Even then, in Islam, for example murder, there are ways that the death penalty can be avoided.

As the Acts that now provide for death penalty in Malaysia are in the secular law, Muslim politicians and their parties that use the argument that Islam allows for the death penalty, so we oppose the abolition, are very wrong. They need to demonstrate leadership not fear.

The ‘best interest of the child’ is certainly best served by incarceration of a parent, sibling or relative rather than having them hung to death by the State. Malaysia, who have ratified the Child Rights Convention(CRC), has an obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, and as such this is yet another reason why the death penalty must be abolished. 

The possibility of miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable is yet another reason why the Death Penalty needs to be abolished. We recall the words of the then Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, who said “No criminal justice system is perfect. You take a man’s life and years later, you find out that another person did the crime. What can you do?(Star, 29/8/2010, Abolish death penalty, it’s incorrect to take someone’s life, says Nazri).

In the Malaysian context today, it would have been great injustice if the 2 convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu had been hanged, for then it may result in others involved escaping justice. Likewise, in other cases where there may other perpetrators of the crime still at large, yet to be arrested, charged and tried.

Abolition of the death penalty is an ineluctable global trend. 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes by the end of 2017 and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Malaysia embarrassingly is amongst the few countries who still retain the out-dated death penalty and carry out executions.

In 2018, Malaysia, under UMNO-BN, brought into effect the abolition of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.  

It has been about 5 months since the new Pakatan Harapan-led government, but we have yet to see Bills being tabled that will lead to the abolition of the death penalty. Our HOPE is that we will see this happening in the next Parliamentary session or at least by the end of the year.

Being a reformist government, Malaysia needs to make rehabilitation and second chances the principal consideration in sentencing.

MADPET calls for the immediate abolition of the ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts…’ as promised in the Pakatan Harapan’s ‘Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation Rebuilding Our Hopes’;

MADPET also calls for the abolition of the Death Penalty; and

MADPET also calls for immediate moratorium of all executions pending abolition;

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

No comments: