IN conjunction with the World Day Against the Death Penalty, commemorated on Oct 10 annually, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) wishes to reiterate its call for the total abolition of the death penalty in the country, in line with the belief in a person’s 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.
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 a positive step in towards total abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia.
Last year, the Malaysian Government was among 120 United Nations (UN) member states, which voted in support of the UN General Assembly’s (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.
The study conducted by the Special Committee to Review Alternative Sentences to the Mandatory Death Penalty appointed by the late Datuk Liew Vui Keong 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 SUHAKAM’s view that the recommendations and transitionary measures for current death row prisoners, should be made public, thereby allowing for legislators, policy makers 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 last year, to set up a Law Reform Commission to study existing laws as well as sentencing procedures and if found to be outdated or archaic, to recommend for the necessary amendments or repeals and thereby enabling Malaysia to be in line with international human rights standards. – Oct 10, 2021.
The statement was written by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.