Law minister: Putrajaya not abolishing death penalty completely, still deliberating on alternatives

Liew said the government is studying to abolish the mandatory death penalty, not the death penalty in its entirety. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Liew said the government is studying to abolish the mandatory death penalty, not the death penalty in its entirety. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — The final report from the special committee studying the alternatives to the mandatory death penalty is due at the end of this month with Putrajaya awaiting its findings before making any final decision, Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today.

Liew, who is also minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of legal affairs, also maintained that the government is studying to abolish the mandatory death penalty and not capital punishment entirely — which he said is in line with international human rights standards.

He said this means that judges must have discretion in imposing death sentence based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case which differed from one another.

“I wish to state it very clear that the government is studying to abolish mandatory death penalty and not death penalty in its entirety.

“I however await the final report from the special committee due at the end of this month before any decision is reached on the matter,” he said in a statement here.

In August last year, the Cabinet had set up the Special Committee to Review Alternative Punishments to the Mandatory Death Penalty to look for alternatives to the mandatory death sentence.

He also assured that the views of all stakeholders in the matter will be given due consideration in the decision-making process.

Liew’s statement was in response to several family members of murder victims claiming Putrajaya was being insensitive towards their feelings with its move to abolish the mandatory capital punishment for heinous crimes like murder.

Family members and representatives of the alleged murder victims — Datuk Kevin Morias, Datuk Sosilawati Lawita, Stephen Wong Jing Kui, Chee Gaik Yap, Annie Kok,

Muhammad Hafiz Indris, and Nurulhanim Idris and Datuk Mohd Mazlan Idris — attended a meeting with a Parliamentary Select Committee yesterday to plead against the repeal of the mandatory death penalty for heinous crimes involving premeditated killings resulting loss of lives, like murder and terrorism.

A Bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March.

The Pakatan Harapan government had initially promised to abolish the death sentence entirely as part of its 14th general election pledges.

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