PUTRAJAYA: The relevant legislative amendments needed to abolish mandatory death sentence is expected to be tabled in the October parliamentary sitting, says Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said this will allow the abolition of the mandatory death sentence to take effect by January next year.
“In principle, the government has agreed on June 8 that the mandatory death sentence will be abolished.
“I was informed that the Attorney General’s Chambers are prepared to have the relevant amendments ready to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in October.
“By December, it should be tabled in the Dewan Negara and I am confident there would not be many objections to it.
“So by January, we should be able to abolish the mandatory death sentence,” Wan Junaidi said at a press conference here Monday (June 13).
Wan Junaidi also said the government could not commute the sentences of those currently on death row yet as the amendments were yet to be finalised.
However, he added that the moratorium on executions, implemented since 2018, would remain as long as the amendments were not yet finalised.
The minister added that a tribunal will be set up to study the cases of 1,342 convicts who are currently on death row in the country.
“There are some calls for the government to give a blanket pardon to all of those on death row, but there are also others who feel that it would be unfair to those on the victim’s side.
“So these are things that need to be studied, so the suggestion is that a tribunal be set up to look into each case.
“But the constitutionality of the tribunal is also something that needs to be looked into,” said Wan Junaidi.
Wan Junaidi also said the death penalty still existed in Malaysia as the government's decision was only to abolish the mandatory death penalty.
“Mandatory death penalty refers to the provision of criminal offences where, if an accused is found guilty, they will be sentenced to death without exception.
“In other words, the judge has no choice but to give the death sentence even if he or she feels the accused does not deserve it,” said Wan Junaidi.
Wan Junaidi added that a public survey would also be organised by the Legal Affairs Division to gather feedback from the people on their views on abolishing the mandatory death penalty.
“If we find that the public is overwhelmingly against the abolition, the matter would be discussed in Cabinet again,” he said.