Abolish the death penalty in Malaysia
Malaysia is one of 58 countries which still retains capital punishment although worldwide trend points to an increasing number of countries abolishing the death penalty.
In 2013, Malaysia imposed at least 76 new death sentences, compared to 60 in the year before. Of last year’s death sentences, 37 were handed to foreign nationals including 10 to women.
Last year’s executions & executions carried out in 2013 point to a disappointing level of commitment by the Malaysian Government because there has actually been genuine progress towards abolition in Malaysia – in particular, the government’s commitment in 2012 to review the law on mandatory death sentences for drug offences.
Two people were put to death in 2013, one for murder and one for drug trafficking. Both executions were carried out in near-total secrecy, with authorities not making public information about imminent executions nor posthumous information about convicted persons who have been executed.
Two more inmates were put to death in 2014 whilst another 2 were granted stays of execution.
In 2013, The Death Penalty Project and the Bar Council launched a report which polled public opinion on the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, murder and firearm offences. A large
majority of the 1,535 Malaysian citizens polled changed their support for the mandatory death penalty when mitigating circumstances were introduced to the case studies used in the survey.
Based on this, and existing evidence that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to reducing crime, Amnesty International wants to see the death penalty abolished in Malaysia.
As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.
“According to Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions 2013 report, 990 people Malaysia are on death row as at end 2014, including 648 sentenced for drug trafficking offences. In 2011, it was reported that 441 people had been hanged since 1960. ”
YAB Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
Dear Prime Minister
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice but it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
According to Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions 2013 report, there were 992 people on death row at the end of 2013, including 648 sentenced to death for drug trafficking, which international law does not classify as a “most serious crime”. In 2011, it was reported that 441 people had been hanged since 1960, as reported in “The Death Penalty in Malaysia: Public opinion on the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, murder and firearm offences.”
In 2009, Malaysia’s representative in Geneva told the UN Human Rights Council that Malaysia was considering replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment. Further, at the Universal Periodic Review process in Geneva in 2014, Malaysia echoed the same message to UN member nations, adding that the Attorney-General’s Chambers will conclude its report on removing the death penalty from Malaysia’s legal books by December 2014.
As a concerned citizen, I call on the authorities of Malaysia to:
- immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty as the government reviews death penalty laws
- grant commutation from death penalty to life imprisonment for all prisoners on death row
- abolish the death penalty
The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights.