Kasthuri: Cabinet shifting goal post on death penalty

Kasthuri-PattoKUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet should not keep shifting the goal post on its commitment to abolish the death penalty, said Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto. “It should table the amendments in the parliamentary sitting in October.”

As Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, added the MP, “it was Nancy Shukri’s moral responsibility to advocate for this tectonic change in national policy.”

“She should demonstrate commitment in upholding and protecting human rights, especially the right to life.”

The latest shift of goal posts was by not granting discretionary powers to judges to hand down different forms of punishment apart from the death penalty, said Kasthuri. “It shows the dark hands of executive interference in the criminal justice system and judicial independence.”

Earlier, recalled the MP, the government shifted the goal post twice.

In a written reply in March 2014 to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, the government stated that it had no intention to impose a moratorium on executions, particularly for those who had exhausted all avenues in seeking pardon from individual State Pardon Boards.

Secondly, the government has clearly stated, time and time again, that public opinion was in favour of retaining the death penalty. “The majority of the people vehemently oppose GST, yet the government has turned a deaf ear to public opinion,” said Kasthuri.

In a parliamentary reply, dated May 20, to the MP’s question on the breakdown of nationalities on death row in Malaysia, it was disclosed that 629 were Malaysians and 413 were foreigners.

649 executions are pending court appeals whereas 393 are seeking pardon from State Pardon Boards.