Saturday, August 19, 2017

Reaffirming Commitment towards Abolition of Death Penalty - Malaysian Parliament, 25 July 2017

On 25 July 2017, parliamentarians, representatives from civil society and the diplomatic community met in the Parliament of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, to discuss the abolition of the death penalty in the region. This roundtable was convened by Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), in the framework of its partnership with Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) and the Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH),

The roundtable was hosted by Honourable Kula Segaran, Secretary of PGA’s National Group in Malaysia and Member of PGA’s Executive Committee.

Participants first discussed the situation of the death penalty in Malaysia, with opening statements from Mr. Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director of ECPM, H.E. Dr. Angela Macdonald, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, and H.E. Mrs. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador & Head of the European Union Delegation to Malaysia, who all vowed to support Malaysian parliamentarians and authorities in their efforts to reduce the scope of the capital punishment. Most significantly, Hon. Azalina Othman Said, Minister of Law, described Malaysia’s efforts to reduce the use of death penalty and announced that a bill abolishing the mandatory aspect of capital punishment for drug-related crimes would soon be presented to the Cabinet, before being put to vote in Parliament.

After substantive contributions from Hon. Kula Segaran, Mr. Charles Hector Fernandez, Coordinator of MADPET, Hon. Liew Ching Tong, PGA Member, and Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), all attendants participated in a fruitful debate where they exchanged views on how to best promote the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia. 

The roundtable also gave the participants an overview of the situation of the death penalty in other Asian countries, thanks to the very detailed presentations from Ms. Ngeow Chow Ying, Member of the Executive Committee of ADPAN, Hon. Eva Sundari, Indonesian MP and PGA Member, Mr. Julian McMahon Barrister and Member of Reprieve Australia’s Board, and Mrs. Zainab Malik, Head of Advocacy at Justice Project Pakistan. Chaired by Hon. Thomas Su Keong Siong, Treasurer of PGA’s National group in Malaysia, and Hon. Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, PGA Member, this session allowed all participants to identify similitudes and synergies between efforts led by parliamentarians in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and other countries in the region.

All participants voiced their deep concerns at the increasing number of executions in Indonesia and Pakistan and at the multiplication of extrajudicial killing in the Philippines. They vowed to tackle the issue of the death penalty in their respective countries and on the regional level.

The participants came out with the following Action Plan.

The Members of Parliament from Malaysia that were present included MPs from DAP, PSM, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara.

It was great to see that all the MPs present were for the abolition of the death penalty personally, and it is hoped that Malaysian Political Parties would also soon come out with a CLEAR party position in favour of the abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia 

See related posts:-

Bill To End Mandatory Death Penalty For Drug Offences Maybe Tabled Before This Parliamentary Session Ends(MADPET Media Statement))

Parliamentarians need educate constituents for abolition of death penalty(Star)

Action Plan

Recalling the international human rights standards and instruments that guarantee the right to life and
protect the human dignity of death row inmates, as well as the General Assembly of the United Nations’ resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty,

Considering how the death penalty is currently used in Malaysia and in the region, despite the lack of
evidence of its deterrent effect,

Acknowledging the crucial role that legislators hold to promote the abolition of the death penalty, to
reduce and restrict its use and to further the development of the Rule of Law through legislative
initiatives and by leading public opinion,

We, the participants of the Parliamentary Roundtable on the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia and in Asia, commit to:

1. Continue to strive to inform our constituents and others about the death penalty and its related issues, to grow a consensus in favour of its abolition, including through public statements;

2. Create within our respective parliaments a multi-partisan group of parliamentarians dedicated to further the abolitionist cause, through engagement with other stakeholders and in particular with PGA, ECPM and ADPAN;

3. Engage with families affected by the death penalty, both the relatives of victims and of accused, and give them a role to play in our advocacy efforts;

4. Engage with student bodies to promote the abolition of the death penalty;

5. Make clear, whenever the opportunity arises, that under international law the death penalty should only be applied to “the most serious crimes” and that drug-related crimes do not meet this threshold;

6. Make clear, whenever the opportunity arises, that under international law the death penalty should not be made mandatory for any category of crimes, as it negates the rights of the accused to benefit from a sentence reflecting the circumstances of the crime;

7. Request from our respective governments that a review of existing death row cases be conducted to
assess inter alia the impact of the mandatory death penalty and the background of those affected;

8. Raise the issue, whenever the opportunity arises, of the discriminatory aspect of the death penalty, in particular against poverty-stricken communities, trafficked individuals, the mentally ill, juveniles, and minorities;

9. Keep the abolition of the death penalty at the forefront of legislative discussions, and especially when discussing matters of criminal justice and criminal procedure, to ensure that the capital punishment should only be used at the outcome of a fair and transparent trial;

10. Urge our respective governments, both federal and state, and all bodies that exercise clemency powers to commute death sentences;

11. Demand from our respective governments that no execution be carried out in secret or hastily, that an adequate notice be given to the family before execution, and that statistics are strictly kept and made public;

12. Develop strategies to reduce the scope of the death penalty in our respective countries, especially by introducing legislation reducing the number of capital offences;

13. Request a full moratorium on the use of the death penalty and that a national Commission of Inquiry on the efficiency of the capital punishment be created and its results published;

14. Ensure that our governments fully respect the Convention on the rights of child (CRC) and the
Convention on the elimination of all forms of discriminations against women (CEDAW);

15. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of executions in Indonesia;

16. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines;

17. Encourage and support our Filipino colleagues in ensuring that the death penalty not be reintroduced in the Philippines;

18. Express our concerns at the dramatic increase of executions in Pakistan;

19. Urge our respective governments to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-OP2) aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;

20. Urge our respective governments to make a more forceful representation to countries where their
citizens are sentenced to death and that the latter be ensured legal representation under the Vienna

21. Bring issues related to the death penalty at the forefront of regional discussions, including at the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, to develop a better cooperation among MPs throughout the region and promote abolition;

22. Call upon all governments to abolish the death penalty; and more specifically:

In Malaysia:

23. Continue to request from the government that the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 be reviewed to abolish the mandatory aspect of the death penalty as announced by Min. Azalina Othman Said on 21 February 2016 and again during this very roundtable on 25 July 2017;

24. Urge the government of Malaysia to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR);

In Indonesia:

25. Use all legislative powers at our disposal, including that of amendments, to ensure that the new Criminal Code and the Law on Counter-Terrorism reduce the scope of the death penalty;

In Pakistan:

26. Promote a revision of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 to ensure that defendants accused of ordinary crimes not be tried before Anti-Terrorism Courts; and

27. Demand that torture be expressly prohibited in Pakistani criminal law, that penalties and remedies be defined, and that a National Prevention Institution be created.

“As parliamentarians, we have a role to play to go beyond vengeance” declared Hon. Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, PGA Member.


Parliamentarians for Global Action(PGA) Website

Lock-Up Conditions 'cruel and inhumane" - Resolve NOW, If UMNO-BN cannot, we can do it?

SUHAKAM has the powers to visit places of detention ...and they cannot bstopped...and they really need to be doing more of this...It is very good that they have visited the Ayer Molek police lock-up in  Johor and have found it to be 'cruel and inhumane'... Places of Detention must be a priority - considering the the large number of death in police custody and also allegations of torture...

SUHAKAM has been around since 2000... and, really this should have come to light very much earlier...SUHAKAM may have, in the past, prepared 'reports with recommendations' to the government, but alas this UMNO-BN government can be really slow in reacting... Press Statements is way to go...because then all people becomes aware ...and changes are more likely to come sooner... In any event, the Ayer Molek police lock up came into being only in 2009...(but still about 7 years ago) - Who is the ADUN and MP there?

POLICE LOCK-UP - well, this is the place suspects arrested are kept....persons charged and being tried are kept in Remand Prisons, and the convicted are placed in Prisons. As such, the conditions of police lock-ups really must be so much better compared to prisons ...

Why were complaints of lock-up conditions not raised before ...they could have been raised by the Opposition parties...they could have even be raised in Parliament...Anyway, Anwar Ibrahim seems to be happy with his Prison condition - have not seen him yet fighting for better conditions in prison for him and his fellow prisoners. Uthayakumar, on the other hand, did raise a lot about prison conditions, when he was in prison... 

OTHER ISSUE - there is really no reason for suspects to be arrested and detained in police lock-ups during the investigation period... For the purpose of investigation, simply arrest and release them on police bail requiring them to turn up at the police station at this particular time for 'investigation' purposes... Only those arrested for very serious crimes, and there is a very high risk of flight, should persons be kept in police lock-ups...If the police, after arresting has sufficient evidence, then charge them immediately in court...

Maybe, we need EXPOSURE program for Najib, Ministers, MPs, Senators - they should maybe spend at least 2 days in police lock-ups ...well, that would certainly speed up Reforms...Why Not? Now even Najib uses public transport to experience how it feels like ...


Section  4  Functions and powers of the Commission

 (2) For the purpose of discharging its functions, the Commission may exercise any or all of the following powers:... (d) to visit places of detention in accordance with procedures as prescribed by the laws relating to the places of detention and to make necessary recommendations;(e) to issue public statements on human rights as and when necessary; and

 (3) The visit by the Commission to any place of detention under paragraph (2)(d) shall not be refused by the person in charge of such place of detention if the procedures provided in the laws regulating such places of detention are complied with.

- Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999


'...Police will form a committee to look into claims by The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) that the conditions at a lock-up in Johor Baru is "deplorable and hazardous to health"...' - How difficult is it to just drop by at the lock-up - it is a police lock-up. Police should not embarass themselves in this way...'they did not know???' - Let's move forward, and let us speedily put forward plans on what will be done immediately to improve conditions ...and let us do it? No money - well, I am sure Najib will find the money fast...if not what about the MP's annual RM5-6 Million allocation...after all, this is within the constituency? 


RM8 for 3 meals...Well, let us increase it to RM20, which should also include at least 3 litres of drinking water. > Well, I am sure the local MP and/or ADUN, Rotary Club and other welfare groups, or the local people can look into this...maybe even the Opposition Parties... Donate drinking water and suitable food...

Clothes - well again, this can be donated ...I am sure that people will donate...

Bedding - well, the police should tell us what is needed ...and people will donate..

UMNO-BN government, PM, Finance Minister and Home Minister can deal with the long-term solution - Budgets can be increased...

If UMNO-BN cannot do it, maybe we need another government ... persons in police lock-ups are all considered INNOCENT...


Suhakam: Ayer Molek lockup conditions 'cruel and inhumane'

   Published     Updated
The Ayer Molek police lockup in Johor Bahru is in a deplorable state and should be shut down if "acceptable standards" cannot be maintained, said the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

Commission chairperson Razali Ismail said that a site visit showed that the facility posed a health hazard for detainees and detainees were not given adequate food and water.

"Suhakam is of the view that the conditions are so poor, that they amount to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.

"We reiterate that treating persons deprived of their liberty with humanity and respect for their dignity is a basic and universally applicable tenet.

"If acceptable standards in detention cannot be maintained, the Ayer Molek and other lockups in similar conditions must be closed," he said in a statement today.

Razali said that the lack of financial resources could not be used as an excuse.

He said that Suhakam could see that all cells had "decaying floors", inadequate lighting, poor ventilation, lack of lockup clothes and lack of bedding.

The team said the police lockup had a daily budget for three meals for each detainee was RM8. This, said Razali, was "unacceptable". 

"Even the lockup staff acknowledge that this amount does not allow for sufficient portions that are nutritionally balanced and adequate according to the diet prescribed by the health ministry," he said.

Breach of laws

The team found that drinking water was provided to detainees only three times a day, therefore violating the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules) which stipulated that detainees should have access to drinking water when needed.

Razali also expressed concern over poor sanitation, overcrowding and the lack of medical facilities at the lockup - itself a violation of Lockup Rules 1953 - had led to the spread of infectious diseases.

"Suhakam empathises with lockup officers who have to purchase face masks and gloves on their own to protect themselves against tuberculosis and other diseases. 
"Suhakam was informed that there were cases of police officers stationed at the lockup who had contracted tuberculosis from sick detainees," said Razali.

Razali said that the managers of a lockup must ensure that a detainee's unconvicted status is demonstrated in their treatment. 

He also called on the home ministry to take immediate steps to remedy the deplorable and inhumane conditions endured by persons who are on remand and not yet charged. - Malaysiakini, 16/8/2017

See full SUHAKAM Statement at SUHAKAM Website - Press Statement No. 31 of 2017 (Urgent Reform Needed Regarding Inhumane Lock Up Conditions in Ayer Molek)

Then, one of the Minister responded alleging that the SUHAKAM was outdated with regard the information relied on, and to this SUHAKAM issued another statement - Press Statement No. 32 of 2017 (“SUHAKAM’s Response to The Deputy Minister’s Statement”)

Police to look into alleged 'deplorable and hazardous to health' conditions of Ayer Molek lock-up.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim — Sunpix by Xafiq El Shah
KUALA LUMPUR: Police will form a committee to look into claims by The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) that the conditions at a lock-up in Johor Baru is "deplorable and hazardous to health".

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim (pix) said the committee will to look into the conditions at the Ayer Molek police station lock-up.

"We will also get in touch with Suhakam to see if they have any additional reports on the lock-up so we can improve it," he said yesterday during press conference.

Noor Rashid said the lock-up was old and it must be looked at and improved.

"Although the infrastructure must be taken a look at, more importantly, we need to address the issue of management. From a management point of view, we need to pinpoint its weaknesses and improve it," he said.

He ensured that they will take action to improve the lock-up especially its management.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in the statement on Wednesday that based on a recent visit to the lock up in Johor Baru, he found that all cells were in extremely poor and dilapidated conditions, and detainees have been deprived of drinking water and even food.

"Several critical issues such as healthcare practices and basic human rights have been denied for the detainees. Suhakam is extremely concerned to learn that drinking water was only provided three times a day," he revealed.

Razali said having access to safe drinking water was central to living a life in dignity; and in accordance with Rule 20(2) of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, drinking water shall be made available to every prisoner whenever he needs it.

"While detainees are entitled to clothing that is clean, there was also an overall shortage of clean lock up clothes," he added.

Noor Rashid earlier gave out prizes to teams of police personnel who entered the Royal Malaysia Police's innovation contests. - The Sun Daily, 17/8/2017