Malaysia’s cabinet to decide on tabling proposal to abolish death penalty next month

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ISKANDAR PUTERI, Feb 16, 2019, NST. The Cabinet will make a decision on whether to table the proposal to abolish the death penalty in Parliament next month, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, reported the New Straits Times.

Liew said a decision would be reached before the Dewan Rakyat convenes on March 11.

“Ever since the proposal was made in October last year, I have met various interested parties, including family members of victims of crime, non-governmental organisations and family members of death row inmates.

“I have also received a lot of emails from the public on this matter. We have taken into account the opinions of all parties before making the decision,” said Liew.

In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by hanging is mandatory for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows. A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 per cent of the 60,000 behind bars.

On another matter, Liew said the existing laws are sufficient to protect the royal institution from insult or slander.

“At the moment, there is no need to introduce new laws like the lèse majesté as the existing laws are sufficient,” said Liew.

He, however, said he did not discount the possibility of existing laws being amended or new ones being introduced later.

“We will continue to protect the royal institution as Malaysia practises a constitutional monarchy. At the same time, we want to ensure the public’s right to voice their opinions albeit within the purview of the law,” said Liew.

He was speaking to the media after visiting the site of the proposed new Johor court complex near the State Assembly here.

Present was Federal Court chief registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.

On the proposed new court complex, Liew said the project would cost about RM200 million and carried out on a 6.9 hectare land in Kota Iskandar.

“The project would involve a land swap between the state and Federal governments. There is a need for a new court complex as the old one is over 100 years old and is beset with various problems like the (poor) air conditioning and electricity supply.

“The old complex has also been gazetted as a heritage building. The proposal to build the new complex was made by the state government,” said Liew.

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