Kuala Lumpur, Sept 6 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that Malaysia will abolish the mandatory death and whipping sentences by next year, with amendments to the laws to be tabled in Parliament next month.
Wan Junaidi told English daily The Star that judges will be given the discretion to hand down the two sentences instead if the amendments are passed.
“If everything goes well and there are no disruptions to the coming Budget session, we will no longer have the mandatory death sentence in 2023,” said Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi.
“This will also apply to whipping as it will be left to the discretion of the judges,” he added.
Wan Junaidi said he intended to table the proposed amendments during the Parliament meeting that begins on October 3.
“The amendments on the mandatory death sentences will cover amendments to 33 sections under the law and involve mandatory death sentences for 11 offences,” he added.
It is understood that the 11 offences comprise nine under the Penal Code and two under the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act.
On whipping, Wan Junaidi said the proposed amendments would not do away with the punishment, but again give judges the discretion on whether to impose it.
“Personally, I view whipping as very brutal and violent and simply inhumane.
“This is why I am suggesting that judges have the discretion to impose the punishment,” he said, adding that most offenders suffer open wounds with many fainting after three strokes.
With discretion given, judges can weigh the gravity of the harm committed by offenders on their victims before imposing the punishment, he added.
Wan Junaidi added that he would meet the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) soon to discuss the matter before seeking Cabinet approval to table the amendments.
When asked about those who are currently on death row, he said that the government was still mulling its options.
According to The Star, there are still 1,342 convicts facing the gallows as of June 2022.
The abolition of the mandatory death sentence was first raised by the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018 and a moratorium on execution was then implemented.