Fate of juvenile offenders rest solely on the King

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 28 May 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to decide the period and conditions of detention for juvenile offenders and whether to release or detain them upon review.

Section 97(2) of the Child Act applies to juvenile offenders charged with a serious crime that carries the death penalty, such as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

Section 97(1) of the Act prohibits the death penalty for such offenders while other parts of the law stipulate jail terms in place of the death sentence.

Once in four years, offenders are allowed to appeal to the Pardons Board, which reviews cases and provides recommendations to the King.

Other countries, including Bri­tain, have similar punishments for young offenders charged with se­­rious crimes.

In Britain, such prisoners would have their jail term reviewed by the Parole Board at a time fixed by the Secretary of State, within two years at a time.

Judges have the power to set minimum terms before prisoners can be considered for release.

In Singapore, juvenile offenders must be detained at the President’s pleasure.

The President would act on the Cabinet’s advice, while reports from the judge who tried the case and the Chief Justice or other presiding jud­ges of the appellate court would decide the period of detention.

The President’s Pleasure Review Board, appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs, would look in­- to the appeals.

In Botswana, Kenya and Malawi, juvenile offenders of serious crimes are also detained at the President’s pleasure.

However, the laws in these countries state that any court, which convicts a juvenile offender of any offence, might instead order the person be placed in the custody of a suitable person for a specific period.


Related stories:

Suhakam wants to be 'a friend of the court'

Pursuing an education behind bars

Appealing for the offenders