The death penalty is retained under Malaysian law for more than 30 offences and is regularly imposed for acts –such as drug trafficking –that do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes”, to which the use of this punishment must be restricted under international law and standards. As of September 2019, more than 1,290 people remained on death row.
Research by Amnesty International has highlighted that the burden of the death penalty in Malaysia has largely fallen on those convicted of drug trafficking, who disproportionately include women and foreign nationals. A significant part of those on death row involves people from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds and certain ethnic minorities are over-represented on death row.These findings gain an even greater significance when considered in the context of laws and policies that are in contravention of international law and standards and which have added multiple layers of arbitrariness into the use of this punishment. This report highlights specific concerns in relation to the right to a fair trial and to seek pardon or commutation of a death sentence.
Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to take prompt action to repeal the mandatory death penalty for all offences and bring national legislation in line with international human rights law and standards, as critical first steps towards full abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment
Read the report here: