KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — The Attorney-General’s Chamber will prepare a paper on the amendments of the death penalty legislation for submission to the government following the completion of a comprehensive study on the matter.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said the study conducted by the International Centre for Law and legal Studies (I-CeLLs) was carried after the AG’s Chamber was tasked to undertake a comprehensive study on the issue of the death penalty in Malaysia.
The study was carried out with consultation from Professor Dr Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology and Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College Oxford, one of the renowned experts on the death penalty, she said.
Nancy said this in her intervention note at the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty held in Oslo, Norway. The three-day congress kicked off yesterday.
Her intervention note was faxed here today.
She said: “There are positive signs in Malaysia, and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation.”
Currently in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for 12 offences, while 20 other offences are punishable by a discretionary death penalty.
“Murder, drug trafficking, and offences relating to (national) security are instances of offences which are punishable with a mandatory death penalty,” she said.
Nancy said Malaysia does have some safeguards in law and practise to protect the right of the accused facing the death penalty, inter alia, the right to be promptly informed of the nature of the charge preferred against him, right to legal representative of his own choice and also the right to fair hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
“Although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards insofar as the relevant safeguards are concerned, Malaysia’s position on the death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.
“Among the criticisms are, although the death penalty has its place, it should only be implemented in the most serious of crimes and where there is no reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty,” she said.
Nancy said there had been no empirical studies to prove that the death penalty did not have the deterring effect that such a penalty was hoped to create. — Bernama