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
Malay Mail - Hoping that there will be no more death penalty in Malaysia by the next World Day Against the Death Penalty — MADPET
Hoping that there will be no more death penalty in Malaysia by the next World Day Against the Death Penalty — MADPET
10 — Today, on the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, MADPET
(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) 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
Datuk Nancy Shukri, the then minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department, did say that 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.( Malay Mail, 17/11/2015)
A few days before that, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali said he
will 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. (Malaysian Insider, 13/11/2016)
Malaysia was accorded a space of importance at the recent 6th World
Congress Against the Death Penalty, organised in Oslo (Norway) from 21
to 23 June 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 is 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.(Star, 22/6/2016).
The Minister also told Malaysiakini at the sidelines of the Sixth World Congress that the study had been completed about two months ago (Malaysiakini, 10/7/2016).
Death penalty is no deterrent
Nancy Shukri had previously also said that empirical studies showed
that the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a
penalty was created”. (Star, 22/6/2016)
This was consistent with the facts the then Home Minister, Datuk Seri
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
3,845 arrested. (Free Malaysia Today, March 19, 2012, ‘Death penalty not deterring drug trade’).
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairperson Tan Sri Lee Lam
Thye also did note in July 2013 that the death sentence had not deterred
the drug trade.
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 mandatory death penalty be abolished where no
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
have 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, 2016, whilst Ahmad
Najib Aris was executed less than three weeks ago on September 23, 2016
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…’ (Star, 10/7/2015). It must be noted that
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), also did reiterate on 29
March 2016 their recommendation that a moratorium on the use of the
death penalty be put in place in Malaysia.
MADPET believes that there must 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 2016, and all that is needed if for the Attorney
Generals 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 2016.
MADPET urges the Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who replaced Nancy
Shukri in mid-July as the new de facto Minister of Law, will expedite
the tabling of the much needed amendments that will abolish the death
MADPET also urges that Malaysia to announce a moratorium on ALL
executions, not just for drug trafficking, pending the tabling of
amendments, that would see the abolition of mandatory death penalty, and
hopefully also the abolition of the death penalty. As of May 16, 2016,
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 of
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
* This statement is submitted by Charles Hector for and on behalf of MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture).
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.