TWO rival political parties – MCA and PAS – have agreed to disagree with the government on one common issue – to abolish the death penalty.
While MCA calls for a review of the proposed Bill, PAS wants the government to conduct a detailed study on the issue first.
Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) said the government should instead make room for discussion on the matter.
He opined that the government’s decision to abolish the death penalty for all offences was made hastily and did not take into account the opinion of all parties.
“Looking at the public reaction, especially from those who have experienced the loss of loved ones at the hands of criminals, they are angered by the decision.
“It will be good to gather the views of the Opposition and NGOs to provide a counterbalance,” Dr Wee told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
On Monday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said that the government hoped to table the Bill to abolish the death penalty in the current Dewan Rakyat meeting.
Dr Wee, who is also MCA deputy president, said the government should not abolish capital punishment for the sake of fulfilling its election manifesto.
“They said before that the manifesto is not a bible that they must follow,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Wee had asked in Parliament if the government was ready to form a Select Committee to gather public opinion on the issue, including from families of victims.
He said for certain offences such as trafficking in dangerous drugs, the government could consider amending laws to provide for other than capital punishment and let the court decide.
Separately, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang) wants the government to conduct a detailed study on abolishing the death penalty, saying that lighter punishment should be meted out first.
He said while most of those on death row were drug traffickers, he did not agree on the mandatory death penalty for them because in Islam, the punishment must be done in stages.
“Death penalty should be the last resort and not mandatory.
“PAS doesn’t agree that death penalty should be abolished but a study should be carried out,” the PAS president told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
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