Review of mandatory death penalty almost complete, says minister

SANDAKAN: A study to abolish the mandatory death sentence is being finalised before it is presented to the Cabinet, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

He said the study was conducted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers following the government’s intention to abolish the death penalty in accordance with international standards on human rights.

“The study of the mandatory death penalty is already in the final stage and I’m sure if possible, we can table the bill by the end of the year,” he said after a community social integration programme in Kampung Karamunting, here, on Saturday night.

The programme was organised by the Sandakan district National Anti-Drug Agency under its Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Committee in collaboration with the Neighborhood Watch (Rukun Tetangga) of Kampung Karamunting.

Liew, who is also in charge of legal affairs, said the mandatory death sentence is for offences relating to drug trafficking, murder and terrorism.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong says appropriate punishment must be given to crimes like murder and terrorism.

He said, in reviewing the punishment, various aspects will be taken into account to ensure appropriate punishment is meted out to offenders, particularly for murder and terrorism.

“For me personally, in drug cases sometimes we are overly hard on those being used as drug mules but our laws against anyone found guilty of trafficking excessive amounts of drugs (Under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952) is the mandatory death sentence.

According to him, if the mandatory death sentence can be abolished, the focus will be on Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and the offender will be sentenced to life imprisonment only.

“But for other crimes such as murder and terrorism, like an invasion of a sovereign nation similar to the tragedy that occurred in Tanduo, Lahad Datu, killing villagers and members of the security forces, we have to take this into consideration to ensure that those arrested for committing these offences are subjected to appropriate punishment,” he said.

In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by hanging is mandatory for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.