PETALING JAYA: The government should not abolish capital punishment just to extradite convicted killer Sirul Azhar Abdullah from Australia, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
Sirul Azhar was sentenced to the gallows by the Federal Court in 2015 for the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The MCA president also said the government must consider the views of the majority of Malaysians before deciding to abolish the death penalty.
"Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah said if the death penalty is abolished, Sirul Azhar, who was convicted of murder, can be brought back to stand trial in Malaysia.
"On the other hand, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the abolition of the death penalty had nothing to do with Sirul Azhar.
"Although both are Cabinet ministers, why is there a contradiction in their statements?" he asked in a statement on Thursday (Feb 21).
Dr Wee said a survey by a media group showed that 82% of Malaysians were against the abolition of capital punishment.
"So why is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in such a hurry to abolish the death penalty?
"Why has he also objected to the setting up of a parliamentary select committee to deliberate this thoroughly?" he asked.
On Wednesday (Feb 20), Bernama quoted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as saying that the deportation of Sirul Azhar from Australia will be discussed with Dr Mahathir.
"If Malaysia's mandatory death sentence (for murder) can be changed, he (Sirul) can return," she was reported to have said when asked to comment on Sirul Azhar's political asylum bid that was rejected by an Australian court on Monday (Feb 18).
A spokesman from the Australian Attorney-General's Department said that Sirul Azhar can be extradited to Malaysia on the condition that an undertaking is provided that the death penalty will not be carried out.
Altantuya, then 28, was believed to have been shot dead before her body was blown to bits with explosives at a secondary forest near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam, in 2006.
Dr Wee also asked if the government would bring Sirul Azhar home immediately after the death penalty is abolished.
"It seems as if Tun Dr Mahathir is not at all interested with public opinion on this.
"What he seems to be more interested in is to get as many leaders from the Opposition to jump on board his ship so that he could get neutralise his political enemies," Dr Wee added.