De Lima calls for renewed, sustained campaign against death penalty

Bar president George Varughese says the death penalty has no place in modern society

KUALA LUMPUR-Malaysia's government is pushing ahead with its promise to abolish the death penalty, a move that sits at odds with the use of capital punishment elsewhere in Asia.

The death penalty will be abolished and there should be a moratorium on all executions until then, Datuk Liew Vui Keong said on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Foreign diplomats and worldwide human rights groups on Thursday praised Malaysia for plans to abolish the death penalty in the next legislative session.

Liew said that with Putrajaya intending to abolish the death penalty, the Pardons Board will be tasked with looking into the applications of death row inmates.

The African Christian Democratic Party has promoted capital punishment as part of its policy.

Keong called for a halt on all executions until the decision is in effect, saying: "Since we are abolishing the sentence, all executions should not be carried out".

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.

Today, the European Union delegation to PNG joined other European Union missions around the globe to recall the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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

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The cabinet has given the green light for the death penalty to be abolished.

The abolition of the death penalty could save the life of Sydney grandmother Maria Exposto, who was found guilty of drug trafficking by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia in May.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows.

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.

Amnesty International aims to pressure five countries where the death penalty is "rife" - Belarus, Ghana, Iran, Japan and Malaysia - in a bid to put an end to inhumane conditions of detention for prisoners sentenced to death.

Surendran claimed there were now "hundreds of Malaysians" on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

While Indonesia carried out the highest number of executions over the past five years, Mr Hamid said the country had been making improvements.

Do you think getting rid of the death penalty and other extreme laws will benefit the country and the people?

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