Mandatory death penalty bill repeal to be tabled in October

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong says a task force will soon be set up to study the appropriate prison terms for 11 offences.

SANDAKAN: The bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty is expected to be tabled in Parliament in October once the government decides on appropriate prison terms for 11 serious criminal offences covered by it.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said a task force will soon be set up to study the matter.

“This will involve a major shift in policy and, as such, the government needs more time to study it and make a decision,” he told a press conference here today.

Liew said the task force will also review the life imprisonment penalty and look into the possibility of reducing jail terms to between 10 and 30 years.

Currently, the 11 offences fall under two acts — nine under the Penal Code, including murder, waging war against Yang di-Pertuan Agong and committing terrorist acts — and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971.

In a separate development, Liew said the government will be tabling the bill amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, to be automatically registered as voters, on Tuesday.

If the bill is passed, about 3.8 million new voters, including those aged 18, are expected to be eligible to vote in the 15th general election.

Liew said the government, on Wednesday, will be tabling the bill to add 13 new seats to the Sabah state legislative assembly, in addition to the existing 60.