Putrajaya says firm on scrapping death penalty, mulls victim compensation fund

Liew reportedly said the issue of death penalty would not be brought before a special parliamentary committee as the Cabinet had already deciding on ending the capital punishment. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Liew reportedly said the issue of death penalty would not be brought before a special parliamentary committee as the Cabinet had already deciding on ending the capital punishment. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — The government will not change its mind on abolishing the death penalty but is also at the same time considering the introduction of a victim compensation fund, law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong has said.

Liew reportedly said the issue of death penalty would not be brought before a special parliamentary committee as the Cabinet had already deciding on ending the capital punishment, but said Putrajaya was currently studying how the US provides relief to the kin of victims of crime.

According to local paper Sin Chew Daily, Liew said the government understood the feelings of the families of victims, and hoped to introduce measures such as compensation funds to reduce the pain of families and assist them if the victim was the breadwinner.

“We will consider the family background of the victim’s kin, whether the victim is a husband or child, whether he is the financial pillar of the family, the impact of losing him on the family’s finances. We will provide compensation based on the victim’s financial situation or loss,” he was quoted telling Sin Chew Daily.

“Whether it is conducting funerals, going to hospitals, court and the police station to handle matters, it all requires expenses. Currently US has such a compensation fund, we will consider it,” he added, also saying that the government was studying if the funds could be sourced from bail money or fines imposed on those who are convicted for their crimes.

The report did not specifically state if the proposed compensation fund would only be for victims of fatal crimes such as murder.

In the same report, Liew said the federal government will be amending seven Acts where 32 offences contained in them were tied to the death penalty, such as the crimes of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or murder.

Liew said 142 countries had abolished the death penalty, and that there were currently 56 countries that maintained it.

Citing the examples of UK, Denmark, Germany and the Philippines, Liew reportedly said the abolition of the death sentence did not result in an increase in serious crimes being committed there.

Sin Chew Daily said there are currently 1,267 prisoners on the death row in Malaysia, with 932 such prisoners facing the death penalty due to drug trafficking as of October 11.

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