In commemoration with the World Day Against Death Penalty on 10th October, The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee and Amnesty International Malaysia, once again urge the Malaysia Government to expedite its efforts on the abolition of the mandatory death penalty, with a view towards a total abolition in the near future.
Malaysia has announced the completion of a comprehensive study on death penalty in June 2016, followed by another announcement in August 2017 by Minister in the Prime Minister Department Azalina Othman Said, which states that the decision to scrap the mandatory death penalty on drug offences has been approved by the cabinet.
It is now time to materialize that decision by amending the relevant laws in Parliament.
Based on unofficial statistics, approximately 70% of death row inmates are convicted under the Dangerous Drug Act which carries the mandatory death penalty. We cannot ignore the fact that some of them are of very young age who fall under the trap of becoming drug mules in the chain of supply. We also cannot ignore that the double presumption in the Act may lead to possible miscarriage of justice. Recently, a key witness to a drug trafficking trial was found to have lied in court, resulting in the accused person being acquitted and discharged after one year in remand.
All this leads us to believe that our criminal justice system may be flawed and if an innocent was hanged, there is nothing we can do to bring him/her back. The death penalty is inhuman and irreversible.
When life hangs in the air, time is of essence. While we congratulate the Government’s decision to take step towards abolition, it is also important for the Government to recognize the urgency of the matter as life is at stake.
We urge the Government of Malaysia to take immediate steps towards abolition of the death penalty and in the mean time, cease all executions and impose a moratorium. We look forward to the review of the relevant laws very soon.
Civil Rights Committee of The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Amnesty International Malaysia