THE government will go ahead with abolishing the death penalty amid outcry from families of murder victims over the proposal, says Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said it simply must be done in complete abolition.
“I can understand the pain of families of victims but it is the government’s intention to abolish all death penalties.
“We cannot do it half-heartedly – abolishing the death penalty for one offence and keeping the capital punishment for another,” Liew said when met at the Parliament lobby.
He said the public must understand that doing away with the death sentence does not mean that those convicted would be set free.
“Their sentence will be commuted to imprisonment for life or life imprisonment,” said Liew, who is in charge of law.
He said for imprisonment for life, it means that the convicts would serve the rest of their lives in prison without any release date.
“As for life imprisonment, they have to serve time for a minimum of 30 years,” said Liew.
There are 1,267 prisoners on death row and about 900 of them were convicted of drug offences, namely trafficking in dangerous drugs or an offence under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
“At this moment, we don’t have any executions yet for drug-related offences because the Sultan or Governor of states has not signed the order to carry out such capital punishment,” he said.
On the tabling of the proposed Bill to be debated, Liew said he was still in the midst of finalising a few details and would push for it in this Parliament session.
Last week, The Star conducted a survey online which saw almost half of Malaysians surveyed against the Cabinet’s plan to abolish the death penalty.
The survey revealed that 45% felt the death penalty was needed to keep hardcore criminals at bay.
Online sentiment was largely against the abolition with comments saying that the abolition could lead to an increase in crime.
Over 3,600 Malaysians participated in the survey.
Bukit Aman Narcotics Crime Investigations Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh and several former top cops, namely Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Tan Sri Samshuri Arshad, were also all for capital punishment as a “strong deterrent” for serious crimes.
But several criminologists were of the opinion that there has been no scientific studies to back this argument.