Keep mandatory death sentence for brutal crimes, say victims' grief-stricken kin

KUALA LUMPUR: The mother of a rape and murder victim has made a tearful plea to the government to retain the mandatory death penalty.

Alice Tan Siew Ling, whose 17-year-old daughter was raped and murdered in 2009, broke down during a press conference in the Parliament lobby on Monday (April 3).

"She died after being stabbed in the neck," Tan said in urging the Dewan Rakyat not to pass the amendments abolishing capital punishment as scheduled on Monday.

At the same press conference, Noor Hakimi Abdul Halim said his friend, a security guard in Sungai Petani, Kedah, was also a murder victim.

"He was attacked by three assailants and murdered with a parang.

"If the mandatory death penalty is abolished, criminals will no longer be scared.

"Please think about the families of the victims," he said.

Lawyer Christina Teng, who was also present, said the mandatory penalty should be retained for heinous crimes involving the loss of life.

She said many judges preferred not to mete out hanging sentences after being given the discretion to impose a non-lethal penalty.

She said that even life imprisonment usually did not go beyond 30 to 40 years of jail time and justice would not be served on those who had committed abominable crimes.

"A brutal killer who has raped and murdered will (eventually) be released (if the death penalty is abolished).

"(Jail) is not a serious enough punishment for heinous crimes.

"We ask the government to focus on cleaning up the justice system and address the many loopholes and weak enforcement instead of abolishing the mandatory death sentence," she said.

She also appealed to the government to put the interests of victims and their families before consideration for the perpetrators.

She said a petition under the non-governmental organisation Protect Malaysia has garnered almost 100,000 signatures in support of keeping the death penalty, and added that the government should not rush into abolishing it.

On March 27), Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said tabled the Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Bill 2023 for first reading, along with revisions to the death sentence and imprisonment for natural life.

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