Sunday, July 3, 2022

Malaysia agrees to abolish mandatory death penalty

It will be substituted with other forms of punishment to be decided by the courts, says law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

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The government has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty and substitute it with other forms of punishment to be decided by the courts, law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today.

In a statement, he said the decision followed his presentation of a report on the matter during a Cabinet meeting on June 8.

“The government also accepted in principle and noted the recommendations of the special committee to review alternative sentences to the mandatory death penalty, which were explained in the study report,” he said, referring to the committee led by former chief justice Richard Malanjum.

Wan Junaidi added that the Cabinet had agreed for further scrutiny and studies to be conducted on the proposed substitute sentences for 11 offences carrying the mandatory death penalty, one offence under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, and 22 offences carrying the death penalty at the court’s discretion.

He said further studies would be carried out in collaboration with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the legal affairs division, the Prime Minister’s Department and other relevant ministries and agencies.

“This is important to ensure that the amendments of the related acts take into account the proportionality and constitutionality of any proposal to the government in time to come,” he said.

Wan Junaidi also said that the government would study feasibility matters related to the direction of the country’s criminal justice system, such as the establishment of a pre-sentencing procedure and a sentencing council, the development of sentencing guidelines, the creation of a law commission, prison reforms and the implementation of sentences based on the principle of restorative justice.

“This decision shows the government’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of all parties are protected and guaranteed, reflecting the transparency of the country’s leadership in improving the dynamic criminal justice system,” he said.

Crimes punishable by death in Malaysia include murder, treason, drug trafficking, terrorism and the possession of fire arms.

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