Suhakam hopeful Malaysia will abolish mandatory death penalty

22 Jul 2014 / 18:22 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is in favour of Malaysia joining a list of countries which have outlawed the mandatory death penalty, especially on drug traffickers.
    Its vice-chairman, Dr Khaw Lake Tee, is optimistic that officers of the Attorney-General's Chambers, who are currently undertaking a comprehensive study on the matter, will come up with positive recommendation by year-end.
    "Let's hope something positive will come out of this, since not all those prosecuted in courts are members of drug syndicates or cartels," he noted.
    During a media briefing on Malaysia's Second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Suhakam headquarters here, he said the government had partially agreed to outlawing the mandatory death sentence which was one of the recommendations proposed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
    She said Suhakam had been working with the Malaysian Bar Council, members of parliament, foreign ministry and other stakeholders on the need for courts (judges) to be given discretionary powers in imposing much more appropriate sentences, including life sentences.
    UPR is a mechanism established by the UNHRC to improve human rights situation in each of the 193 UN member states by reviewing their human rights records every four-and-a-half years.
    Although she agreed that Malaysia was one of the major international drug transit points where authorities needed to come down hard on drug traffickers, she noted that it should also be taken into consideration that a number of cases of innocent people, including women, were lured as drug mules.
    Under Malaysian law, offences related to drugs, murder and waging war against the ruler or Yang-Dipertuan Agong carried mandatory death sentences.
    On the possibility of Malaysia voluntarily imposing a moratorium on the death penalty, Khaw said the government did not support the idea since some countries which previously carried out such a move had recently reintroduced its application.
    The Suhakam vice-chairman said Malaysia had accepted 150 out of 232 recommendations received from member states.
    Khaw said one of the recommendations the government had accepted was allocating more funds to the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly in the areas of employment, education and housing. – Bernama

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