KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Two lawyers today claimed the country is not ready to have the death penalty abolished and urged the government to exercise due diligence with public interest as a priority.
Lawyer Adnan Seman pointed out that an offence must be punished accordingly, such as murder with death, and doing away with capital punishment will provide criminals an avenue to escape heinous crimes.
“Those arrested are well aware that they will only face life imprisonment for an offence punishable by death if capital punishment is abolished.
“They are not given a death sentence and instead cared for under the penal system,” he said in a press conference here.
Adnan added that the feelings of victims’ families have also to be taken into account as he believed those who are fighting for the abolition has never lost a loved one through murder and could not empathise.
He even went further to suggest that contract killing could flourish in the country as those involved will not be punished by death.
“Death penalty has proven to be effective because people are afraid of it. I believe that abolishing it is not a smart move as it will increase crime,” he said.
Another lawyer, Christina Teng echoed Adnan’s remarks, adding that capital punishment was needed in Malaysia as it was an emerging country unlike Western developed countries.
“Malaysia is still very far in terms of education and social welfare which motivates people to commit crime when they are desperate.
“Capital punishment has a psychological effect and is effective in deterring crime as proven in countries thriving economically such as Japan or Singapore that have retained the death penalty,” she said.
Teng said the government should work on strengthening enforcement of our laws by addressing the plight of enforcement and judicial personnel who were mostly underpaid.
“Those people who risk their lives in the line of duties to protect us cannot speak here because they are employed in the civil service, but we can speak for them,” she said.
Teng also urged the government to study existing problems before repealing the death penalty instead of creating more liabilities as Malaysia possessed strict laws to protect innocent people.
“I believe public interest must come first and not the minorities of death row inmates.
“It is not about revenge or politicking, but about the government taking a step back and do its due dilligence,” she said.