Ex-IGP disagrees with govt decision to abolish death penalty, says referendum should have been done


KUALA LUMPUR: Former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor (pic) disagrees with the government's decision to abolish the death penalty, adding that a referendum should have been conducted first.

"I do not agree with the decision to abolish the death penalty, even though the Cabinet has decided. In my personal opinion, I think that the death penalty is an important issue where they should have sought a referendum first," he said during a press conference on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Abdul Rahim said the government should have done a thorough study and sought public opinion before deciding to abolish the death penalty.

"I think the democratic process has not been followed," he said.

Abdul Rahim added that the Cabinet's decision to abolish the death penalty was not sacrosanct.

"As I understand, the Cabinet itself can, if there are supporting circumstances, review its decision. I don't think (their decision) is sacrosanct," he said.

He also lamented at the lack of balanced views between those who were against the death penalty and those who approved of it.

Abdul Rahim also questioned whether human rights groups who oppose the death penalty conducted a study on the families of victims who were affected by a crime.

"Did the human rights groups come up with a study about the families of victims who were left behind, like Kevin Morais or Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim (the firefighter who died due to the Seafield temple fracas)?" he asked.

He named the supporters of the abolishment of the death penalty such as Lawyers for Liberty, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Bar Council.

Abdul Rahim also claimed that most Asian countries, such as China, Singapore, Japan and even the Middle East still had the death penalty, adding that Malaysia did not need to follow the ways of the Western countries.

He also claimed that 60% to 80% of Malaysians agreed that the death penalty should not be abolished.

Abdul Rahim hoped the government will review its decision and reinstall the death penalty.

"I strongly appeal to the government to review this," he said.

Last October, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said that the Cabinet had decided to abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

Liew announced that the Cabinet had decided that the death penalty for 33 offences under eight acts of law would be abolished, including Section 302 of the Penal Code (murder).

A proposed Bill to abolish the death penalty is expected to be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting in March.