PETALING JAYA: Human rights watchdog Suaram today welcomed the government’s commitment to abolish the death penalty, saying it was a turning point in Malaysia’s criminal justice system.
It was commenting on the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong that a bill to abolish the death penalty would likely be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting.
Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said in a statement that it was time for Malaysia to distance itself from the primal instinct to inflict pain and revenge.
Instead, it should move towards an approach of restorative justice and rehabilitation that were the norm globally.
“With this, Malaysia would fully embrace the sanctity of human life in our justice system and prevent the state from inflicting irreparable damage when the state errs in dispensing justice,” Sevan said.
Earlier today, Liew said he hoped a memorandum could be completed for the Cabinet to approve so that the bill could be tabled in Parliament.
He said the Cabinet met this morning and discussed the issue.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting starts on Monday.
Suaram director Kua Kia Soong had previously said the Pakatan Harapan coalition should have been able to put an end to the death penalty within its first 100 days of government.
He said PH reforms urgently needed to uphold human rights in Malaysia.
A few days ago, Liew said that in reviewing the punishment, various aspects would be considered to ensure appropriate punishment is meted out to offenders, particularly for murder and terrorism.
In Malaysia, the mandatory death penalty is handed down for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.