Cabinet to study alternatives to death penalty

PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet will study a report on a proposal to replace the mandatory death penalty with alternative sentences before the end of February, said Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said that he had been briefed on the findings by the Special Committee to review the alternative sentences to the mandatory death penalty, which was chaired by Tun Richard Malanjum.

“The findings of the report regarding the alternative sentences to the mandatory death penalty, which was concluded by the Special Committee in a period of four months, will be presented to the Cabinet before the end of February for consideration and agreement,” he said in a statement today.

The Special Committee was established to conduct an overall review on the sentencing policy and to replace the mandatory death penalty with a more appropriate sentencing, subject to the discretion of the courts, he said.

Wan Junaidi also explained that study was conducted in line with the government’s intention to repeal all related laws involving the mandatory death penalty.

However, he said any changes, including alternative punishments for 11 offences carrying the mandatory death penalty as well as 22 offences related to the discretion of the courts, will take some time to be realised.

The government had previously announced that the Bill to amend laws on the death penalty, as well as other relevant laws, was expected to be tabled in Parliament by the third quarter of this year.

Wan Junaidi had previously pointed out that one critical remit was to evaluate the effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent.

“There have been repeated calls to abolish the death penalty. As minister, my role is to assess the effectiveness of this punishment as a deterrent.

“We must study this thoroughly before we come to a decision.

“We also need to see if the rehabilitation of convicts would be the better option, and in the best interest of the greater society,” he added.In 2018, the government under Pakatan Harapan had planned to abolish the death penalty which is prescribed for 32 offences under several laws.

The offences include those under the Firearms Act 1960, Kidnapping Act 1961 and Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

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