Inmates to serve full 30 years if death sentence commuted

KUALA LUMPUR: Death row inmates, whose death sentence is commuted to 30 years' life imprisonment with the proposed abolishment of the death sentence, will have to serve the full jail term, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

"There will be no retrospective effect for those serving their sentences, if it has been commuted to 30 years' life imprisonment.

"Their jail term will run from the date the pardons board commutes their death sentences to life imprisonment," he said when answering a supplementary question by Kasthuriraani Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) during Minister's Question Time in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Oct 16).

Besides the 30-year life imprisonment sentence, he said that there would be instances where inmates will end up spending the rest of their natural life behind bars.

To a question by Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) who opined that the decision was hasty, Liew said a study titled "Death Penalty in Malaysia and the Way Forward" was carried out by the Attorney General's Chambers.

He said the study took several factors into consideration and recommended that the death penalty in Malaysia be abolished altogether.

He added the study noted there was no prove to show that the death penalty served as an effective deterrent.

He said the study also found that there was a risk of an innocent suspect being sent to the gallows due to a wrongful conviction.

"There are instances where those accused of murder were convicted based on false testimony from the key witnesses.

"Although the conviction may be set aside due to false testimony, the fact is that the conviction could have led to the death penalty," he said.

Liew reiterated the government's commitment to abolish the death penalty, which was in line with Point 27 of Pakatan Harapan's manifesto to do away with cruel and oppressive laws.

At present, Liew said there were 32 laws that carried the death penalty, of which 12 were mandatory sentences.

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.

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