MALAYSIA: UNDER 15% OF MALAYSIANS SUPPORT MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY, SURVEY SHOWS
June 20, 2020:
Most Malaysians feel the government should keep the death penalty, especially for brutal crimes like murder, where the perpetrator exhibited high levels of intention and aggression, according to a survey by The Centre, a research outfit founded by Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan. (Sources: FMT, Malay Mail, 18/06/2020)
The face-to-face survey of 500 Malaysians nationwide aged 18 and above was conducted last November and December — following Putrajaya’s move to abolish the mandatory death sentence and grant judges the discretion to commute the capital punishment for certain crimes.
The study shows that while 60% of Malaysians believe the death sentence is needed, less than 15% are supportive of the mandatory death penalty.
The study, which took into account the views of 500 participants in the peninsula, sought to test the extent of public support for the death penalty against the type of offence, as well as the presence of mitigating and aggravating factors.
The results which were released on 18 June 2020 showed that the more violent and personal the crime, the more supportive Malaysians became of the death penalty.
The survey showed that 73% of respondents supported the death penalty for crimes such as murder and rape. However, support dropped to 47% for crimes related to terrorism or genocide despite the potentially higher casualties.
It also noted that intention and case facts played a significant role in the views of respondents, with 85% choosing the death penalty as the maximum punishment for intentional murder but only 42% as punishment for causing grievous harm and loss of life when there is no intention to kill.
“When presented with mitigating factors drawn from actual murder cases, appetite for the death penalty goes down even further,” The Centre said in a statement.
In terms of punishment for drug-related offences, 63% of respondents chose the death penalty for large-scale drug trading, for example by kingpins.
Meanwhile, 21% supported the use of the death sentence for the purchase of drugs for personal use and 35% chose the death penalty for small-scale drug trading.
“Although a small majority, 60%, believe the death penalty is needed in a society, a significant 31% are neutral on the issue,” The Centre said.
“Even among respondents who believe that the death penalty is necessary, only two-thirds can confirm that they are clear and definite on their views.”
It added that while 71% agreed with the notion of retribution or “an eye for an eye”, deterrence was a significantly bigger support factor for the death penalty with 85% of respondents believing it discourages others from committing certain crimes.