M'sian govt will abolish mandatory death penalty

Sentencing will be left to the discretion of the courts.

Sulaiman Daud | June 10, 2022, 01:25 PM

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The government of Malaysia has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty.

Instead, sentencing will be left to the discretion of the courts.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Parliament and Law, Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, released a statement on June 10 that outlined the government's decision.

Government accepts in-principle the recommendations of a Special Committee Report

Wan Junaidi said a decision was reached after a presentation to the Cabinet of a report on substitute sentences for the mandatory death penalty.

The statement said that the government accepts in-principle the recommendations of the report by the Special Committee on Alternative Sentences on the Mandatory Death Penalty.

The committee is headed by former Chief Justice Richard Malanjum and is comprised of legal experts, such as a former Chief Justice of Malaya, a former Solicitor General, legal practitioners, law lecturers from leading Public Education Institutions and criminologists.

Wan Junaidi confirmed that the Cabinet agreed on further scrutiny and research on proposed alternative sentences for 11 offences carrying the mandatory death penalty, one offence under section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act and 22 offences carrying the death penalty but with the courts' discretion.

The statement added that this is significant in ensuring that any amendments to the relevant acts take into account the principle of proportionality and the constitutionality of any proposal to the government later on.

Further study on prison reform and sentences based on restorative justice

The government will also study the feasibility of the direction of the criminal justice system in the country, such as the establishment of pre-sentencing procedures, the reform of prison institutions and the implementation of sentences based on "restorative justice".

Wan Junaidi added:

"The decision on this matter shows the government's priority to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected and guaranteed, thus reflecting the transparency of the country's leadership in improving the country's dynamic criminal justice system."

Top image from Wan Junaidi's Facebook page.