Proposal to remove mandatory death penalty welcomed
Graphic: Man sitting in prison cell
The Human Rights Commission welcomes the recent announcement by the Attorney-General of Malaysia.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia welcomes the recent announcement by the Attorney-General of Malaysia that he will propose to the Government to take necessary steps to abolish the mandatory imposition of the death penalty for drug related offences so that Judges will have the power to dispense discretion in all drug trafficking and related cases.
This positive development will bring Malaysia’s position on the issue closer in line with many countries that have in recent years abolished the mandatory death sentence.
The Commission in 2012 welcomed this proposal following an announcement by the then de-facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, and reiterates that the death penalty undermines human dignity and violates the right to life.
In the interim, the Commission wishes to advise the Government to review all criminal laws to ensure that the death penalty, if imposed, is applicable only to the most serious crimes as defined by Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Accordingly, the Commission recommends that the Government consider acceding to the ICCPR and its Second Optional Protocol, and to aim towards the eventual abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia, joining approximately 140 of the 193 United Nations Member States that have abolished the death penalty or introduced moratoriums, either in law or in practice.
The Commission hopes that these proposed amendments will be expeditiously brought to Parliament and that pending such an outcome, there will be a moratorium on all executions.
Date: 18 November 2015
- Man sitting in prison cell - APF/Michael Power