PETALING JAYA: The government has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty, giving judges discretion in sentencing.
Law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the decision was reached after he presented a report on substitute sentences for the mandatory death penalty at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
He said the Cabinet had also agreed for a further study to be carried out on the proposed substitute sentences for 11 offences carrying the mandatory death penalty, one of which is under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
“This shows the government’s emphasis on ensuring that the rights of all parties are protected and guaranteed, thus reflecting the transparency of the country’s leadership in improving the country’s criminal justice system,” he said in a statement.
Wan Junaidi said the government has also accepted in principle the recommendations of the special committee to review alternative sentences to the mandatory death penalty, chaired by former chief justice Richard Malanjum.
“The government also expresses its appreciation for the commitment given by the committee in producing this report, which will be the basis for more systematic and effective change in the country’s criminal justice system,” he said.
Malaysia voted in favour of two United Nations General Assembly resolutions calling on states to establish a moratorium on executions in 2020.
Lawyers and interest groups had called for a moratorium on the execution of death row inmates until Parliament votes on a bill seeking the abolition of the death penalty.
A total of 1,359 people were reported to be on death row as of November last year.
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