Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh (pic) said it is debatable if the death penalty should be completely abolished, but in cases of murder, especially of children, it should be retained.
"I have always been an advocate of the abolishment of the death penalty but cases like these, I think, justify retaining the said death penalty in exceptional cases, especially gruesome murders, provided the evidence against such offenders are beyond any reasonable doubt," he said in a statement on Sunday (Nov 11).
He noted the concerns of the families of murder victims that abolishing the death penalty may send the wrong signal that such crimes are not taken seriously enough.
"We cannot ignore such concerns.
"I am of the view that there ought to be a discretion given to the courts to impose the death penalty in the most heinous of cases," he said.
Ramkarpal was referring to two recent cases - nine-month-old Nur Muazara Ulfa Mohammad Zainal, who died after being physically and sexually abused by her babysitter's husband on Friday (Nov 9), and the three-year-old who died of suspected abuse in Ampang Hospital on Thursday (Nov 8).
He also noted that in such a scenario, the court would be able to consider each case based on its peculiar facts and circumstances.
"Such discretion will also allow the court to consider any mitigating factors which may favour an accused in sparing (the accused) from the death penalty.
"It is not an easy task, no doubt, but at the same time, such gruesome murders cannot, or be seen to escape the long arm of the law," said the DAP Legal Bureau National chairman.
Ramkarpal added that the state has a duty to protect such helpless victims and the courts should be empowered to do so.
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