Last year, Malaysia was fourth in region for number of death sentences given

According to a report, Malaysia gave out 190 capital punishments — following China (number unknown), Pakistan (at least 250), and Bangladesh (at least 229). — iStock.com pic via AFP
According to a report, Malaysia gave out 190 capital punishments — following China (number unknown), Pakistan (at least 250), and Bangladesh (at least 229). — iStock.com pic via AFP

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Malaysia ranked fourth in the Asia-Pacific region for the most number of death penalty sentences meted out last year, according to an Amnesty International report released yesterday.

According to its Death Sentences and Executions 2018  report, Malaysia gave out 190 capital punishments — following China (number unknown), Pakistan (at least 250), and Bangladesh (at least 229).

 

 

Malaysia also ranked fifth in the region for the most number of prisoners still awaiting execution, at 1,275 people ― even though capital punishment is now on hold pending changes to the law.

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The highest number of death row convicts in the region was topped by China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

No execution was carried out in Malaysia last year.

 

 

According to Amnesty, out of those sentenced to hang in Malaysia last year, seven in 10 were for drug-related offences.

A quarter of those were for murder, followed by mere 2 per cent for firearms offences, and another 2 per cent for kidnap and murder.

Additionally, nearly a third of the cases involved foreigners — they made up 38 per cent of those sentenced to death for drug-related offences, and 19 per cent of those sentenced for murder

Other offences for which the death penalty was imposed include illegal possession of guns, declarations of war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, kidnapping, robbery resulting in death, and an offence under the Internal Security Act which had been since repealed.

 

Amnesty also highlighted the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which was passed by Parliament in 2017 and took effect in March last year.

In response, Amnesty International Malaysia urged the Cabinet to table Bills to abolish the mandatory death penalty in the next Parliament sitting.

“The abolition of the mandatory death penalty is a step in the right direction in keeping with global trends. More and more countries are rendering the death penalty to the history books and Malaysia will do well to follow suit,” said the Malaysian chapter’s executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu in a statement.

“There is enough evidence that the time to end this cruel and inhumane punishment is now, thus we urge the Cabinet to abolish the mandatory death penalty as a first step towards total abolition.”

Last week, de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the abolishment process is still ongoing as Putrajaya has to deal with various issues following the moratorium on pending executions.

He said the law amendments may be tabled in the July sitting of the Dewan Rakyat with the studies due to be completed in two months.

The Pakatan Harapan government made a historic decision last December by voting in favour of a United Nations resolution for member states that still retain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing this punishment.

Two months after being voted into power in May, the government ordered in July a suspension of all pending death sentences. However, it has since demurred on total abolition of the capital punishment.

 

The Amnesty report showed a sharp drop of executions globally last year, by over 30 per cent compared to 2017, representing the lowest recorded figure in the past decade.

This drop was due to significant reductions in some of the world’s top executing countries: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.

The world’s top five executioners last year were China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Iraq.

 

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