KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya should take heed of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch that killed 50 people before deciding to abolish the mandatory death penalty, says Tan Sri Musa Hassan.
The former Inspector-General of Police claimed the terrorists were emboldened to attack the two mosques because New Zealand does not have the death sentence.
"They know in New Zealand there is no death penalty, so they would be brave to do it (launch the attacks). They think if I kill people, I won't be hung, and I will be released.
"If I sit in prison for a long time, I will get food, people are supporting me," Musa said during a press conference at Wisma MCA on Friday (March 22).
Musa added that even the relatives of the terrorist reportedly said he deserves the death penalty, and there are also petitions calling for him to receive the death sentence.
"The death penalty is still relevant in Malaysia", Musa said.
The press conference was held in response to the government's decision to abolish the mandatory death penalty for 11 serious criminal offences, including acts of terrorism, murder, and hostage taking.
The mandatory death penalty will be substituted with the death penalty, at the discretion of the court.
However, Musa said this was not enough to punish criminals who committed heinous crimes involving loss of life, as the court is often inclined to rule life imprisonment over the death penalty.
"Most probably, the judges feel that it is not their right to hand down the death penalty to the criminal.
"If every offences with death penalty is discretionary, then it would be difficult for the court to choose death penalty for criminals," he said.
"However, I agree that any crime that does not include loss of life can be given the discretionary death penalty," he said, adding that he has seen many drug trafficking cases where people were tricked into becoming drug mules.
Musa argued that removing the mandatory death penalty for heinous crimes such as those involving murder, torture, and terrorism will encourage a rise of serious crimes.
He said the law already protects criminals, as the police have a high burden of proof and must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a suspect is guilty.
To avoid the execution of innocent people, Musa said there is a need to improve the police's technique of investigation, so the judges can rule without doubt.
"In Malaysia, we are more concerned about the rights of criminals, rather than rights of victims. The government has a right to upkeep justice, justice for rakyat who obey the law, not for criminals," he said.
Also present during the press conference were lawyer Christina Teng and Malay Muslim NGO Ummah secretariat head Aminuddin Yahya, and brother of the late Datuk Kevin Morais, Datuk Richard Morais.
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