Gallows await 1,122

THERE are about 1,122 prisoners on death row nationwide as of Feb 21, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He was quoting Prisons Department statistics in a written reply to Kasthuri Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan).

The MP had asked Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, to reveal how many prisoners were facing the gallows.

The Deputy Prime Minister also said that 16 prisoners were executed between 2014 and Feb 21, and 14 of them were Malaysians.

“They were hanged for murder while one case involved a firearms offence,” he said.

Last week, the Cabinet agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion when sentencing instead of requiring them to impose the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that the review would enable judges to mete out suitable sentences in marginal cases where the offenders could be given jail terms.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said police investigations revealed that a baby-for-sale syndicate has been selling infants for between RM3,500 and RM6,700 each since 2012.

He said the syndicate was uncovered by an Al-Jazeera documentary, Malaysia-Babies For Sale.

In a written reply to Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru), he said the investigations focused on human traffickers, a doctor and a government officer, under the Anti-Trafficking In Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

He said six suspects – two men and four women – were arrested in raids on two private clinics in Klang, a private clinic in Puchong and four homes in Seremban and Selangor on Nov 30 last year.

Two more suspects, an Indonesian man and woman, were detained on Dec 3 last year.

“It was found that the sale of babies had started in 2012 and went on until September last year.

The investigations are still ongoing he added.

zahid hamidi