Whilst most opposition MPs were for abolishing the death penalty, some however were uncertain about Minister Nazri Aziz's idea of introducing 'blood money' as a deterrent.
PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers are generally in support of phasing out death penalties in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and the Firearms Act 1971 if it is tabled in the upcoming parliamentary session on Monday.
However, they have mixed feelings over the notion of introducing blood money – a syariah concept to avoid the death penalty.
Shah Alam MP, Khalid Samad of PAS is personally for phasing out the death penalties but is of the view that his party may not be in full agreement.
“I do not think we’ll be in full agreement but we can agree on phasing out death penalty in the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and the Firearms Act 1971.
“We may have differences but it is not fundamental,” said Khalid.
He said this when asked to comment on Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz’s call for support from both the government and opposition to move a moratorium bill against death penalty. He said this while delivering a keynote address on ending death penalty last week.
Malaysia is one of the 58 countries that still practice the death penalty.
There are an estimated 700 death row inmates languishing in the prisons.
Provisions for the death penalty is in Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Firearms Act 1971 and the Penal Code.
Nazri also suggested that the death penalty be replaced with ‘blood money’ that is allowed under Islamic law.
He also encouraged members of the public to raise the issue to their respective MPs and encouraged the masses to come out strongly against death penalty.
Khalid however was cautious over introducing blood money concept.
“Blood money in sharia law is only for accidental death,” explained Khalid who is also Selangor PAS’ deputy commissioner.
Khalid, however also stressed on death penalty to be meted out for those who commit murder.
Perak DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham, who was supportive of phasing out the death penalty, was however selective.
He said the death penalty should be phased out for “sick liability cases, killings due to aggravated provocation and killings that occur over prolong grief of injustice.”
Sick liability cases refer to possession of drugs and arms offences.
“As a lawyer, I agree for the abolishment of the death penalty. But there is still room for death penalty. Death penalty is still needed for planned killings such as bombings and acts of terrorism, ” said Ngeh who is Brias MP and DAP central executive committee member.
He also said that death row inmates who have repented should be released.
On suggestions to replace death penalty with blood money, Ngeh said: “Families can be coerced to offer money that can lead to corruption.”
“The concerned families and Pardon Board must agree on the principle to avoid forced forgiveness and ensure that the detainee has repented.
More details needed
Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin meanwhile confirmed that her party had no objections against abolishing death penalty but wanted Nari to detail out his proposal.
“I am also for the abolishment of the death penalty provided it does not go against the syariah law. Nazri should come up with a thorough proposal that explains the abolition on a step by step basis,” said Zuraida who is also PKR wanita chief.
Sungai Siput MP, D Michael Jeyakumar of PSM was also all for the end of death penalty.
“I will support any bill that brings about an end to the death penalty.
“It does not help as a deterrent factor,” said Jeyakumar who is also the party central committee member.
He also raised concerns over suggestions on blood money.
“It does not sound right since the rich may buy out their freedom.
He also echoed Nazri’s calls for public participation in calling for an end to death penalty adding that the punishment and social support aspects must be looked into as well.