Bill on abolishing death penalty not ready yet, says VK Liew

Liew Vui Keong says a motion will be tabled on Monday to make it it compulsory for all MPs and their families to declare their incomes and assets.

PETALING JAYA: The paperwork on a bill to abolish the death penalty is still not ready although Parliament is sitting on Monday, said de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.

He hoped the bill can be tabled at this sitting.

He said judges were in the best position to decide on the best sentence for those convicted of murder.

Last October, the Cabinet had given the green light to abolish the death penalty.

If Parliament approves it, the country’s 1,291 death row inmates will get a reprieve.

Liew had previously said the death penalty would be replaced with a minimum jail sentence of 30 years.

There are 18 criminal offences punishable by the death penalty. They include offences such as trafficking in drugs, waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, terrorism, murder, killing victims during kidnapping, possessing and using firearms, rape leading to death and rape of minors.

Liew said the bills ready to to be tabled were the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and lowering the voting age to 18.

“If we manage to pass the bill on voting at this Parliament sitting, 3.8 million new voters will be eligible to vote in the next 15th general election.”

Liew said a motion will be tabled on Monday to make it it compulsory for all MPs, including those in the opposition, and their families, to declare their incomes and assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC).

“The speaker will decide on how many MPs will be allowed to debate.

“We don’t need two-thirds support from MPs to pass this motion.

“MPs will have to declare their assets three months after the motion is passed.

“The assets will be declared by the MPs, wives and their children aged below 21.

“This will be extended to senators as well.”

Liew said those who refused to declare their assets will be referred to the speaker, adding that any refusal can be considered as “contempt of the house”.

“Then it is up to the speaker if he wants to refer the MPs to the Privileges Committee to take further action. They will decide on the relevant punishment (give advice or punish).”

Meanwhile, commenting on the government task force on the “enforced disappearance” of pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat, Liew said only the home minister could answer questions regarding this matter.

He said the home ministry had full jurisdiction in the matter as the task force was set up under the purview of the ministry.