Govt studying new law to impact 840 inmates on death row, say Deputy Minister


KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 840 death row inmates will be directly impacted when a new law is created once the mandatory death sentence is abolished, says Ramkarpal Singh.

"The government is considering a new law which will be temporary in nature that will have a direct impact on 840 inmates under the moratorium against the carrying out of the death penalty

"They are among the 1,320 death row inmates in the country.

"The remaining 420 inmates will have to undergo the normal process of appeal," he said when answering a question raised by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semprona) in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Feb 14).

Ramkarpal, who is Deputy Minister in charge of law and institutional reforms, said the proposed new law was being considered in light of proposed amendments to do away with mandatory death sentences.

He said the amendments would cover five separate laws, namely, the Penal Code, Kidnapping Act, Arms Act, Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act and the Dangerous Drugs Act.

He added the amendments will cover 11 crimes that impose the mandatory death sentence and seven where the penalty is at the discretion of the court.

Ramkarpal noted that there were no plans at the moment by the government to consider a total abolishment of the death penalty.

He was asked by Jimmy Puah Wee Tse (PH-Tebrau) if this was being considered and what were the alternative punishments for those who were spared the gallows.

Ramkarpal said that a more in-depth study was being done on the alternative punishment for those who were spared the death sentences.

"A more in-depth study is being done before it is brought to the Cabinet and subsequently tabled (in Parliament)," he said.

Datuk Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (PN-Besut) suggested that those spared the death sentences should be jailed for the remainder of their natural life.

Ramkarpal noted that the proposed amendments aimed to abolish the mandatory death sentences but still gave the courts the discretion to impose the penalty.

He said this was to ensure that the victims were also considered during sentencing.

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