SOME members of the public feel it is best for the death penalty to be reserved for serious crimes.
A freelance writer, who wants to be known only as Alexia, feels it should be maintained as the consequence of heinous crimes. But she is torn about it too because she wonders if justice will truly be served.
“This is especially in some drug related cases, where the drug mules are caught. Some could have been framed. It’s similar for a murder case. It will be too late to reverse the judgement when a person has been hanged,” she says.
Alexia, 30, also questions if our prison system can provide proper rehabilitation for inmates.
“Do we have proper programmes for prisoners once they are out of the system so they can lead a normal life and not face stigma from society?
“There are some prisoners who have mental health issues. Does our prison system have comprehensive solutions to address this?” she asks.
For IT analyst Kenneth Ng, 35, abolishing the death penalty will do away with the “fear factor” that deters criminals from committing atrocities like murder.
“People may feel like they can get away with such serious crimes,” he says.
Ng also sympathises with the families of murdered victims, who want the punishment to be retained.
However, he agrees that the death sentence should not be applied in crimes like drug trafficking.
“Imposing the death penalty for that offence is too harsh. Yes, drug trafficking is wrong but I don’t think it warrants a person being hanged,” he says.
Likewise, business owner M.Y. Chan supports the death penalty but it should depend on the severity of the crime.
“It should be used against those who torture and murder people. But not for drug offences,” she says.
Chan, 36, suggests that Malaysia re-introduce the jury system in court to decide the fate of criminals.
“The judgment should be open to debate by a group of people rather than just one man or woman abiding by set laws,” she says.
She believes it is fair for drug trafficking to be punished with imprisonment for life to keep drug peddlers off the streets so that they can’t do any more harm.
“But for those who cruelly and intentionally murder others, I feel that they don’t deserve to live,” Chan says.
If someone unintentionally kills another, perhaps they can be spared from the death penalty.
“But there’s a difference between an accident and cruelly torturing a person first before ending their life,” Chan says.
Recently, Malay rights group Perkasa called on the government to hold a referendum to gather public feedback on its decision to remove the death penalty.
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