KUALA LUMPUR: The attack in Christchurch that killed 50 people is an example why Malaysia needs to retain the mandatory death penalty, says Tan Sri Musa Hassan.
The former top cop claimed the terrorist was emboldened to attack the mosques because New Zealand does not have the death sentence.
“(He) knows in New Zealand there is no death penalty, so he would be brave to carry out the attacks. He will not face the capital punishment even if people were killed or maimed.
“He will just languish in prison for a long time, still be given food while some people will support him,” Musa said after a round table discussion on the issue of the death penalty yesterday.
Musa said the terrorist’s relative had reportedly said he deserved the death penalty and that there were also petitions calling for him to be given the death sentence.
“So the death penalty is still relevant in Malaysia”, said the former inspector-general of police 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 death penalty, however, could be imposed at the discretion of the court.
Musa said it was not enough to punish criminals, who committed heinous crimes involving deaths, as the court was inclined to life imprisonment over the death penalty.
“Most probably, the judges feel that it is not their right to mete out the death penalty to the criminal.
“If every offence punishable by death penalty is discretionary, then it would be difficult for the court to decide,” he said.
“But, I agree that for a crime that does not involve death, judges can exercise their discretion,” he said, adding that he has seen many drug traffickers, tricked into becoming drug mules for syndicates.
Musa said removing the mandatory death penalty for heinous crimes such as murder, torture and terrorism would give rise to such cases.He said presently, the law provided protection to criminals as the police had a high burden of proof and must prove the case “beyond reasonable doubt”.
To prevent the execution of innocent people, Musa said there was a need to improve the techniques of investigations so that judges could rule without doubt.
“In Malaysia, we are more concerned about the rights of criminals than victims. The government has a right to upkeep justice for the people, who obey the laws, not criminals,” he said.
Also present were lawyer Christina Teng and Malay Muslim NGO Ummah secretariat head Aminuddin Yahya and Datuk Richard Morais, the brother of late deputy public prosecutor Datuk Kevin Morais.MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong thanked Musa and Teng for their support in the campaign against the abolition of the death penalty.
“The government should respect the views of the public and not rush to make any decisions,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.