MALAYSIA: RESOLUTION OVER MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY
June 27, 2011: A resolution calling for an immediate moratorium on the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia was agreed by a roundtable which discussed it in Parliament.
The resolution also called for capital punishment to be reviewed by a Parliamentary caucus consisting of NGOs, former judges, lawyers and other stakeholders.
The roundtable, which was made up of representatives from NGOs and the legal fraternity, met in Parliament and agreed that there should be further discussions on the matter, particularly for drug offences.
In a statement, the roundtable said drug offences were not classifiable as âa most serious crimeâ and should not be dealt with by capital punishment.
It also said that there was no proof that the death penalty was especially effective in reducing crime.
âThe mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers and drug mules has had virtually no impact on the drug trade. Instead, drug related offences and addiction have been on the rise in Malaysia since the 1983 amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which brought in the mandatory death penalty,â it added.
It also said the punishment was irreversible and was too great a responsibility to be burdened on a judge.
The statement said as of Feb 22 this year, a total of 696 inmates were on death row. Of that, 676 were males and 20 were females with 90% of them aged between 21 to 50 years old.
The inmates were sentenced to death mainly for drug offences (479) followed by murder (204) and illegal possession of firearms (13).
The roundtable, which was chaired by Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, has four panelists â former federal judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee, Attorney Generalâs Chambers representative DPP Datuk Nordin Hassan and Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam. (Sources: The Star, 28/06/2011)