Retired cops: Give judges discretion to mete out death penalty

  • Nation
  • Monday, 15 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: A group of retired senior police officers want the government to only abolish provisions of law stipulating mandatory death sentence.

Retired Senior Police Officers Association of Malaysia (Respa) pre­sident Tan Sri Ismail Che Rus said the death sentence could however be retained to give clear warning to both Malaysians and foreigners that certain offences were serious enough to warrant the death penalty.

“However, the discretion to award the punishment of death or life sentence in jail must be given to the presiding judge, who is the best person to apply the law based on facts before the court,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ismail, who is the former CID director, said as an example, the perpetrator of a premeditated killing of a police officer on duty deserved to be hanged while a convicted drug mule could be sentenced to life imprisonment although the judge could still impose the capital punishment depending on the reasons and circumstances.

He said in short, the punishment should fit the degree of the seriousness of the crime and so, it was better to leave this to the judges’ wisdom.

Respa also called on the government to “clear the air” over the status of implementing the abolition of capital punishment as this remained unclear.

“There is no mention of the fate of over 1,200 condemned prisoners and whether the Bill to amend those laws carrying the mandatory death sentence, such as the Penal Code, Fire Arms (Increase Penalty Act) and Dangerous Drug Act, is ready to be tabled in Parliament,” Ismail said.

Respa, said Ismail, also reiterated its position of supporting the government on retaining the Security Offences Special Measures (Sosma), Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), albeit with amendments.

Ismail said although Respa was aware that the public were calling for the removal of certain provisions in those laws to make them more in tune with human rights’ norms, the Review Committee set up by the government would come up with acceptable solutions to balance security needs and human rights practices.

On Saturday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong had said that the Bill to repeal the mandatory death penalty was expected to be tabled in Parliament in October once the government had decided on the appropriate prison terms for 11 serious criminal offences, adding that a task would be set up soon.

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