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Suhakam reiterates call for total abolition of death penalty in Malaysia

0 month ago, 11-Oct-2021

KUCHING (Oct 11): In conjunction with the World Day Against the Death Penalty, commemorated annually on Oct 10, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) reiterates its call for the total abolition of the death penalty in the country.

According to its press statement, this is in line with the belief in a persons fundamental right to life.
Suhakam has continuously advocated for the total abolition of the death penalty, through various stakeholder engagements and programmes, including conferences, debates and exhibitions to raise public awareness and support on this issue.

The statement said Suhakam supports the continued moratorium on the death penalty since its adoption in 2018 and encourages the government to initiate processes to implement its commitment to abolish the mandatory death penalty, as announced in 2019, which is seen as a positive step towards total abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.

In 2020, it said the Malaysian government was among 120 UN member states which voted in support of the UN General Assemblys (UNGA) resolution regarding the moratorium on the use of the death penalty during the 75th session of the UNGA.

It is important to highlight that the resolution recommended that states should guarantee the right to a fair trial, and to limit the imposition of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, pending the abolition of the death penalty, said the statement.

Meanwhile, the study conducted by the Special Committee to Review Alternative Sentences to the Mandatory Death Penalty appointed by the late Datuk Liew Vui Keong (the former minister in the Prime Ministers department in charge of legal affairs in the PH administration under former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has been completed and the report submitted to the previous government.

In view of the weight and urgency of the issue, Suhakam urges the government to release the report of the Special Committee and its recommendations.

It is Suhakams view that the recommendations and transitionary measure for current death row prisoners should be made public, thereby allowing for legislators, policymakers and the society to undertake the needful to expedite the abolishment of the death penalty in Malaysia.

Further, Suhakam encourages the initiative announced by the government in 2020 to set up a Law Reform Commission to study existing laws as well as sentencing procedures and if found to be outdated or archaic, to recommend for the necessary amendments or repeals and thereby enabling Malaysia to be in line with international human rights standards, added the statement.

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