Malaysia Ends Mandatory Death Punishment for Serious Crimes

Tue Apr 04 2023
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SINGAPORE: Malaysian parliament has passed a law to remove mandatory death punishment, possibly sparing over 1,300 prisoners on death row.  The elimination now removes the death punishment as the mandatory sentence for eleven serious crimes, including terrorism and murder.

Malaysia Ends Mandatory Death Punishment

However, the courts have retained discretion to impose death penalty in exceptional cases.  Legislators said that for the most serious crimes, the judges will now favor life imprisonment punishment of up to 40-year, or corporal penalty such as beating.

Speaking in the parliament on Monday, deputy law minister said that capital punishment was permanent but did not work as a deterrent to crime.

The reforms still need to clear the upper house but it is widely expected to approve. The new legislation will allow those on death row 90 days to seek a review of their punishment. There are presently 1,341 prisoners in Malaysia.

The legislative process of overturning the death penalty in Malaysia began in June, 2022, when the previous Malaysian government announced it would end the death penalty as a mandatory death punishment.

Two proposed bills to reform the laws in the country were introduced into the parliament last week.  Malaysia is one of fifty three nations which still maintains capital punishment. Others in the region include Singapore and China.  According to government data, some 1,318 prisoners were hanged between 1992 and 2023 in the country.

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