Final report on death penalty replacements to be tabled soon


THE final comprehensive report on alternatives to the mandatory death penalty will be presented in a Cabinet meeting for further consideration.

De facto Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (picture) said the findings on the mandatory death penalty replacement are obtained through various researches and include the views and feedback from all relevant parties.

“In general, the final report of the replacement sentence study on mandatory death penalty contains recommendations of 11 offences.

“This includes offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (Act 234) and 21 other offences which carry the death penalty but with the discretion of the Court,” he said in a written parliamentary reply to R Sivarasa (PKR-Sungai Buloh) on Monday.

He added that the special committee completed a study within four months from Sept 20, 2019, to Jan 31, 2020.

Amid all this, a moratorium on the death sentence is already in force pending the findings of the special committee.

Additionally, Takiyuddin said the special committee also submitted suggestions on improvement to the country’s justice system for the long term.

It was the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government which set up a special committee in August last year to review alternative sentences to the mandatory death penalty, in line with their intention of abolishing the said punishment.

Following a handful of Cabinet meetings thereafter, it was agreed that a further in-depth study is needed to decide on the need for such abolishment.

The special committee members comprise former Federal Court judges, former Attorney General’s Chambers officers, former Prisons Department senior officers, the Bar Council, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, academics, criminologists and civil society organisations.

The PH government first announced its plans in March last year to abolish mandatory death sentences for 11 offences, nine of which fall under the Penal Code and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971.

The death sentence is mandatory for crimes like murder, armed robbery and offences against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The former government previously pledged to abolish the death penalty altogether but was met with public backlash.

As of Dec 2 last year, there were 1,280 inmates on death row. Of the total, 453 inmates are appealing their cases in the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, according to the former Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jammans.

Another 827 are in the appeal process with the respective states’ pardon boards and the warrants of execution against them have yet to be issued.

Mohd Azis said 734 of those on death row are Malaysians and 546 others are foreigners from 43 countries.

“As for their age groups, 397 inmates are between 21 and 30 years old, 525 between 31 and 40; and 267 are between 41 and 50.

“There are 74 death row inmates aged between 51 and 60, and 17 aged above 60,” he added.