Law minister: Effectiveness of death penalty matters, not relevance

Liew said that crime rates globally were rising year to year regardless of the death penalty. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Liew said that crime rates globally were rising year to year regardless of the death penalty. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong feels the effectiveness of the death sentence should be the main consideration instead of questioning its relevance in today’s society as the government moves to abolish the capital punishment.

“The main issue is not its relevance, but its effectiveness. Whether the punishment will be a deterrent or not, its general effectiveness, has it worked as a preventive measure so other criminals won’t repeat the offence?” he said during an interview with Bernama News Channel this evening.  

“But I feel we cannot be convinced that hanging them as the form of capital punishment will serve as an effective prevention in certain cases,” he said.  

The response stemmed from a question posed by the host, who asked if the death penalty was still a relevant form of punishment in today’s society.

This comes after the Pakatan Harapan government decided earlier this month to abolish the death penalty and halt all pending executions for those on death row.

It was also decided that those sentenced to death will be commuted to a prison sentence of at least 30 years.

Liew explained during the interview tonight that crime rates globally were rising year to year regardless of the death penalty.

“These crimes will always happen, not only here, but every country in the world,

“It is an issue concerning the effectiveness (of hanging), to make sure crime rate does not go up,” he said.

Also during the interview, Liew was asked if the 30-year sentence made economical sense as the government would have to bear the cost of caring for the convicts during their incarceration.

Liew said as of Oct 11, less than 0.5 per cent or some 1,279 prisoners were on death row.

“To take cost into account, it would only cost about RM41 to support one prisoner,” said Liew, without elaborating further.