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Malaysia to abolish death penalty

12 October 2018

"The Cabinet has agreed to abolish the death penalty", Gobind Singh Deo, communications and multimedia minister, told AFP news agency on Thursday.

"The death penalty is a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

Capital punishment is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes, and is carried out by hanging - a legacy of British colonial rule.

"Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them".

The Cabinet has chose to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on October 15, said Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

"Today, I join fellow human rights defenders and the global community in renewing and sustaining the campaign against the death penalty", De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.

Amnesty International also cheered the news, calling it "an astounding announcement".

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has called on the UN Member States to put an immediate end to the death penalty of criminals.

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To date, 142 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

In April previous year, Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the use of death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital punishment in 2016.

De Lima cited several worldwide institutions that have opposed the imposition of death penalty and have come up with policies that ensure the protection of human rights.

The moratorium on the death penalty affects, among others, two women accused of assassinating the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il a year ago.

19 prisoners are now on death row but due to lack of infrastructure and capacity, PNG is still not ready to implement capital punishment.

Earlier in his opening speech, Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government is also mulling a repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws.

Surendran urged the government to not forget the hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in Singapore and other countries, particularly for being drug mules.

Excluding China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan - in that order - carried out 84 per cent of all executions in 2017.

Malaysia to abolish death penalty