Minister of Justice: the government will abolish the mandatory death penalty and conduct more research on the alternative sentence

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The government has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty and alternative sentences at the discretion of the court, Justice Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar announced. — Borneo Post photo

By Yiswaree Palansamy

Friday 10 June 2022 13:06 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 – The government has agreed to abolish the mandatory death penalty and alternative punishment at the discretion of the court, de facto Justice Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has announced.

In a statement today, he also confirmed that Cabinet had agreed to further review and study of the proposed alternative sentence for 11 offenses carrying the mandatory death penalty, an offense under the Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. [Act 234] 2 and 22 other offenses punishable by death but at the discretion of the court.

This additional study will be conducted in collaboration with the Legal Affairs Division of the Office of the Attorney General (AGC), the Prime Minister and other interested ministries and departments.

“This action is very important to ensure that the amendments to the relevant laws take into account the principles of proportionality and constitutionality of any proposal to the government later,” said Wan Junaidi.

He added that the decision had been taken following a presentation of the report on the study of alternative penalties to the mandatory death penalty by him, during the Council of Ministers on June 8.

“The government has also, in principle, accepted and taken note of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Alternatives to the Mandatory Death Penalty, which were explained in the report on the study,” he said.

The committee is headed by former Chief Justice Tun Richard Malanjum and is made up of experts in the field of law such as the former Chief Justice of Malaysia, the former Solicitor General, legal practitioners, professors of law from leading universities and criminologists.

Malaysia has imposed a moratorium on all executions since 2018 pending recommendations from the committee.

In August 2019, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration formed the Special Committee to Consider Alternatives to the Mandatory Death Penalty to consider alternatives to the mandatory death penalty.

The PH government, however, collapsed in February 2020, before the bill for the abolition of the death penalty could be tabled at the March meeting of Parliament that year.

Wan Junaidi previously said that before the government decides on any amendments, it must determine the effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent against crime while considering alternative punishments.

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