KUALA LUMPUR: The Government should seek public consultation before a final decision is taken on reviewing the mandatory death penalty for drug offenders, said Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
He said although this proposal was made to save Malaysians who became drug mules abroad, but in cases in Malaysia, it was a known and established fact that the introduction and implementation of the mandatory death penalty for drug offenders had not been a deterrent to drug trafficking.
"In my view, the reason is not cogent enough to justify the removal of the death penalty, much as we want to help save the lives of Malaysian drug mules detained abroad," he said in a statement here Friday.
He said there must be more convincing reasons to scrap the death sentence for drug offenders, considering the fact that drug offences were more serious than murder as drugs could ruin the young generation, the community and the nation.
Furthermore, there were no studies to suggest that the death penalty had deterred drug traffickers and there were still many cases of arrests either for trafficking or possession of drugs.
"My argument is that we should not rush through such an important matter before we are convinced that the decision we take is right and appropriate.
"It should not be just based on human rights or humanitarian reasons, for if that is so, then what about the rights of those who were ruined by drugs," he said.
He again stressed there was no certainty that drug-related offences would reduce if the mandatory death sentence was abolished.
"And if we are to do away with the death penalty, why confine only to drug offenders and not to others. Are we prepared to consider abolishing the death penalty for all offences as capital punishment is incompatible with a modern, civilised justice system?
"So there are many issues to ponder over before the Government makes the ultimate and critical decision, and rationale must prevail," he said.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz made the proposal to defer the mandatory death sentence for offenders convicted under the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952 and brought the proposal to Cabinet for consideration. - Bernama
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