Mandatory Death Penalty Should Be Swiftly Abolished as First Urgent Step Towards Abolition


03 OCTOBER 2022

Amnesty International Malaysia, along with family members of people on death row, eagerly awaits the tabling and adoption of necessary legislative amendments to abolish the mandatory death penalty this session of Parliament, beginning 3 October.

To prove its commitment to ending the mandatory death penalty, Amnesty urges the government to prioritise tabling the bill as soon as Parliament convenes.

“The plan to end the mandatory death penalty is an important step towards the full abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” said Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia. “We urge the government to seize this historic opportunity and table the amendments without delay . We also urge all MPs to support the full repeal of the mandatory death penalty and commutation of death sentences as a first of many reforms towards abolition.”

With over 1,300 individuals on death row, the reform has the potential to affect the lives of thousands—those on death row as well as their families and loved ones. To ensure fairness and protect against discrimination, the government must initiate an individual judicial review of each case, with a view to determining alternative sentences that are in line with international human rights law and standards.

“Families of people on death row have expressed cautious optimism with the government’s pledge. They are hopeful, but worried that they could be disappointed if these reforms stall or do not go far enough,” said Katrina. “This is why it is imperative for any legislative amendments to be urgently tabled ahead of any possible dissolution of Parliament. Following that, each case must be reviewed by a judicial body with a view of commuting their sentences, and not have a blanket decision implemented for all.”

Amnesty International also urges that the moratorium on executions, which has been in place since 2018, be maintained until the death penalty is fully abolished and all death sentences are commuted.

“The government has an opportunity to make history and spare lives this coming session of Parliament. We are calling on it to fulfil its promise,” said Katrina. “Ending the mandatory death penalty would be a positive first step. We continue to urge the Malaysian government to join the majority of countries globally and fully abolish the death penalty.”

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Click here to read this statement in Bahasa Malaysia: