Singapore’s execution of drug offenders tripled in five years(Think Centre)

 

 

Press release: Monday, 29 July 2019, Singapore

 

Singapore’s execution of drug offenders tripled in five years

 

Singapore’s execution of drug offenders tripled in past five years compared to previous period before law review

 

Year Drug Murder /
Firearms
 2019 1 0
2018 11 2
2017 8 0
2016 2 2
2015 3 1
2014 2 0
Subtotal 27 5
Year Drug Murder /
Firearms
 2013 / 2012 0 0
2011 2 2
2010 0 0
2009 3 2
2008 2 4
2007 2 1
Subtotal 9 9
Source: Judicial Executions, Ministry of Home Affairs – Singapore Prison Service, accessed from Data.gov.sg

Note: For 2019, figure is derived from public news reporting 

 

 

Think Centre expresses grave concerns over the disturbing trend of executions in Singapore in recent years.

 

Key observations

 

  • Total number of executions from 2014 to 2019 is 32
  • Executions for drug offence stand at 84 percent of the total executions till date since 2014
  • A noticeable spike in execution numbers for drug offence occurred in 2017 and 2018

 

The number of executions (drug) in the past five years (2014-2018) represented a 3 times jump from the previous five year period (2007-2011) before the laws on mandatory death penalty for both drug and murder offences were reviewed in 2012-2013. In terms of total executions, the 2014-2019 period exhibits 1.8 times more executions compared to the 2007-2011 period.

 

It is tragic that Singapore’s amended legislative framework for drug trafficking offences has elicited an increase in the number death sentences carried out. The majority, if not all, of those executed on drug offences since 2014 were due to the failure of the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) to issue a ”Certificate of Cooperation (COC). Absent this certificate, an accused still faces the mandatory death sentence.  Otherwise the judge could exercise the option to pass an alternate sentence of life imprisonment rather than the death penalty.

 

Problematic trend

 

The issue of how and when a COC can be issued is the sole prerogative of the AGC. What is problematic is the trend of those who should rightly be considered socially vulnerable but were executed instead due to their failure to obtain the COC. First, owing to their status as low level couriers, it would be deeply questionable if they were able to provide the level of intelligence that can “disrupt drug trafficking activities”. Second, and even more problematic, is when the cases involved persons who were assessed to have sub or borderline intelligence level, and were found to have played the role of a mere courier.

 

Any of these two factors would significantly reduce the likelihood of the COC being granted. Further aggravating the situation are the statutory presumptions in the Misuse of Drugs Act which shifts the burden on accused persons to produce the necessary evidence to rebut the presumptions. It is therefore not an exaggeration to think that a person may be condemned to die because he has been deemed un-useful, or was limited by his inherent capacity to assist with his own defense at the point of first trial. While not all executions occurred under this unfortunate matrix of factors, but when they do, the outcome is devastating. Such persons are most indubitably victims of cognitive inequality. The case of Nagaenthran a/l K Dharmalingam (alias Naga) is one perturbing example.

 

First arrested in 2009, and originally sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in 2010, he spent the next eight years fighting for his life. During this arduous period, his first appeal was rejected in 2011. The sentence was delayed when the Misuse of Drugs Act was amended in 2012 and given effect in 2013. In late 2014, on the occasion of the international human rights day, the public prosecutor informed the court that Naga was not eligible for the certificate of cooperation. The next four years were spent on seeking a judicial recourse in challenging this denial, and to appeal for re-sentencing. It emerged between 2013 and 2017, when Naga was referred for a forensic psychiatric evaluation, that medical experts assessed him to possess a borderline range of intelligence. This essentially meant he could rightfully be described as a person with intellectual disability.

 

The Singapore government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons on 18 July 2013. Since then, some spotted improvement or developments may be observed in the way that the criminal justice system here manages cases of persons with intellectual disabilities coming into conflict with the law. However any improvement remains to be assessed when it comes to death penalty cases. In Naga’s case, the courts have consistently adopted the position that his disability does not square with the meaning or effect of “abnormality of mind” as defined in the MDA.

 

International human rights law has recognised that the death penalty should not be imposed on persons with mental or intellectual disabilities. It also calls for laws and sentencing guidelines to be developed or amended to prohibit the imposition of the death sentence on such persons and their execution. In lieu of such needed developments in Singapore, and with his final judicial appeal for re-sentencing denied earlier on 27 May 2019, Naga’s final recourse lies with petitioning the President for clemency. This however presents another worrying challenge.

 

Blemished clemency process

 

Disturbingly, his chances of success are reasonably cast in doubt, if we observe the case of P. Pannir Selvam. Pannir was arrested in September 2014 and convicted in 2017 for trafficking 51.84g of diamorphine. Like Naga, he was denied the certificate of assistance by the public prosecutor despite the best efforts by him and his family who worked hard to provide information to the Singapore authorities.

 

His clemency petition to the President was rejected earlier in May this year on the advice of the Singapore Cabinet. The troubling aspect stemmed from the manner such grave news was communicated to his family. They received both letters dated on the same day – 17 May – from the President’s office informing of the clemency denial, and the letter from the Singapore Prison Services informing of his scheduled execution on 24 May.

 

Pannir narrowly gained a reprieve when the court granted a rare leave for him to challenge his execution based on this troubling circumstance. This sliver of hope is overshadowed by the disturbing revelation that as many as 13 clemency petitions have already been rejected by the President, as shared by Mr. N. Surendran the legal adviser to Malaysia based Lawyers for Liberty. It is a sombre fact that Singapore has not seen any clemency granted for the past twenty years since 1998.

 

Keen observers of the death penalty’s application in Singapore will know that the weight of granting clemency derives from the Cabinet’s prerogative. In a 2003 BBC interview, the then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong infamously said, “Each execution comes to the Cabinet and we look at it. If we decide that a certain person has got to be executed, he is executed.”

 

To date, we have yet to witness any evidence that would suggest the President possess the powers to decide independently from the Cabinet’s advice.

 

Think Centre reiterates our longstanding belief that the death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. We oppose the use of capital punishment in all circumstances, and especially the mandatory death penalty for non-violent crimes in the case of drugs offences. It has no place in any society that wants to pride itself as being modern, developed and civilised. The death penalty in Singapore today is an anachronistic and incongruous practice; it should only be as fashionable as the ongoing bicentennial commemoration – not to be celebrated, but to be remembered only as a part of history.

 

* Think Centre is a member of ADPAN

MALAYSIA – Abolition Will Facilitate Identifying other perpetrators and bringing them to justice

MADPET Media Statement was reported by FMT, Star, MSN and Star…and hopefully other media will also carry the statement…MADPET is a member of ADPAN

Media Statement – 14/2/2019

Delay in abolition of Death Penalty delays the bringing to justice all those involved in murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu

Table Bills To Abolish Death Penalty in Parliament Session Starting 11th March

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is saddened by the delay in the abolition of the death penalty, which would also most likely delay justice in the case of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two. She was murdered and her body was blown up in a forest with explosives in 2006.

Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were then serving as Najib’s personal security detail at the time of the murder, were arrested and convicted for the murder by the High Court. In 2013, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions and both were released. Thereafter, the Federal Court in January 2015, allowed the appeal by the prosecution, and the murder conviction and death sentence was restored. Murder carries the mandatory death penalty.

A co-accused, former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidant of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak, was acquitted in 2008 without his defence being called to the charge of abetting Azilah and Sirul. The prosecution did not appeal the acquittal.

Najib, at the time of the murder was the Deputy Prime Minister, and in March 2009 he became the Prime Minister until the last General Election in May 2018, that saw the defeat of the UMNO-Barisan National, and formation of a new alternative Pakatan Harapan government.

Sirul Azhar, after his release by the Court of Appeal left for Australia, and he did not turn up for the Federal Court hearing, that again sentenced him to death. Since 2015, he has been detained at the Immigration and Border Protection Department’s facility in Sydney.

In 2015, Sirul was reported saying, ‘”I was under orders. The important people with motive (to commit murder) are still free,” Sirul Azhar Umar said in a phone interview published on Wednesday by Malaysian news website Malaysiakini.’(Straits Times, 18/2/2015).

This raised serious doubts that the person/s who ordered the killing of Altantuya or paid for it may still be at large. Australia, which is an abolitionist state, would not send Sirul back to Malaysia, knowing that he may be hanged if he is send back to Malaysia.

It is now good that the current Malaysian cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that will abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row to be commuted. This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.

In the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for the moratorium of executions pending the abolition of the death penalty, Malaysia, consistent with the new government’s declared position for the very first time voted in favour of the resolution.

The Altantuya case has also made us aware that there may be many others who have ordered or paid for some other to commit murder may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved. All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence.

In any criminal trial, it is of no use for a person who was involved in the commission of the crime to confess or plead guilty. Most will exercise their right to silence until all appeals are exhausted. These persons may also be subject to threats against themselves and their family members by them that ordered or paid them to kill. Those that admit they killed because they were paid to kill is still guilty of murder – so there is little reason to speak up and identify other accomplices who yet to be identified and/or prosecuted

When the death penalty is abolished, and better still any mandatory life prison sentence, the courts will then have the ability to impose a lower prison term for any or all who cooperated in making sure all others involved are also identified and prosecuted. This would be another mitigating factor that the courts can consider, but always ensuring that a just sentence is imposed.

The abolition of the death penalty is needed to prevent the ‘innocent’ from being wrongly killed, as there is always the risk of miscarriage of justice, which could be due to lawyers, prosecutors, police, judges, court procedures and many other factors.

It has been shown in Malaysia, that the death penalty, even if mandatory, does not deter crime.

Further, it is against religious values, even Islam, as death Malaysia is not provided for in Islamic Laws but civil laws, and the trial does not comply with Islamic evidential and procedural requirements. Note, that in Islam, even for murder, execution is a possibility as there is ‘diyat’(diya), where compensation and forgiveness from victim’s family can save a murderer from death – this highlights that repentance and/or forgiveness from victims is important, not simply punishment if you do a crime.

In Malaysia, for a long time, the lack of political will and strength on the part of government, despite the global trend towards abolition may have kept the death penalty in our law books. The fear of government to do the right and just thing simply because of a fear of a possible loss of political support is pathetic. Hopefully, this new Pakatan Harapan, unlike its predecessor, will not weaken and backtrack on its decision to abolish the death penalty.

Many expected that the relevant Bills leading to the abolition of the death penalty would have been tabled at the last Parliamentary session in 2018, and the hope now is that it will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session starting on 11 March 2019.

It is sad that some have been calling for the retention of the death penalty, which may simply be those who are unaware of the just reasons for abolition. They may simply be opposing because this was the decision of the current government, and as such be merely a political strategy rather than one based on justice or values. They may also be people who fail to also appreciate the sufferings of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed. They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia.

Therefore, MADPET

  • Call of Malaysia to ensure that all those, if any, who ordered or paid for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu are identified and prosecuted. The abolition of the death penalty will also make it less likely for accomplices including those who ordered or paid others to do the crime to escape justice, as the those caught and/or convicted will more likely help make this happen, if their assistance can affect/reduce sentences;
  • Calls for the Malaysian Government to immediately, preferably during this upcoming Parliamentary session beginning in March 2019, to bravely table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the Death Penalty; and
  • Calls for the Malaysian government to immediately commute the death sentences of all those on death row, which was about 1,267 in July 2018.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Group says death penalty in the way of seeking truth behind Altantuya’s murder

FMT Reporters

February 14, 2019 11:35 AM

288 Shares

Former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two men sentenced to death for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

PETALING JAYA: A group campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty says doing away with the punishment would help bring to justice those responsible in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.

Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) was referring to Australia’s refusal to release Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two men sentenced to death for the murder of the Mongolian citizen in 2006.

Sirul has since sought refuge in an immigration centre in Sydney, with Canberra saying it is not allowed by Australian laws to deport him due to the death sentence awaiting him in Malaysia.

Australian laws prohibit the extradition of anyone to face the death penalty in his home country.

Madpet said cancelling Sirul’s death sentence would allow him to be returned to Malaysian authorities to assist investigators in shedding light on the brutal murder of Altantuya.

“The abolition of the death penalty will make those who ordered or paid others to do the crime be identified, as those caught or convicted will more likely help make this happen if their assistance can reduce the sentences imposed,” Madpet spokesman Charles Hector said in a statement today.

He also questioned the delay in amending the laws to do away with the death sentence despite Putrajaya’s promise.

Madpet said supporters of the death penalty appeared unaware of the “just reasons” for its abolition, or could be furthering a political strategy.

“They may also be people who fail to appreciate the suffering of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed.

“They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia,” Hector said. – FMT, 14/2/2019

Delay in abolishing death penalty is justice delayed for Altantuya’s family, says group
Nation,Thursday, 14 Feb 2019 1:05 PM MYT
by rashvinjeet s. bedi

PETALING JAYA: The hold-up in abolishing the mandatory death sentence is delaying justice in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, says a group campaigning against the death penalty.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said that abolishing the death penalty would enable Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two people convicted for Altantuya’s murder, to be brought back home from Australia.

“It is now good that the current Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that would abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row being commuted.

“This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen,” said Madpet founder Charles Hector in a statement Thursday (Feb 14).

Australia takes into account whether or not the death penalty would be applied in that country in extradition cases.

Hector said the Altantuya case has also made Malaysians aware that there may be many others who ordered or paid for some other to commit murder who may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved.

“All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence,” he said.

He also called for the government to immediately table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the death penalty during in upcoming Parliamentary sitting beginning in March.

Last October, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet would abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

However, there have been protests from some quarters, including law enforcement officials and the families of some murder victims.

Earlier Thursday, Liew said the Cabinet would make the final decision on whether to bring the legislative amendments to Parliament in March.

In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri were convicted of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their death sentences in 2013, but this was reinstated by the Federal Court after the prosecution filed an appeal.

However, Sirul fled to Australia and was detained by Immigration officials in Sydney after Interpol issued a Red Notice for him.

He has been held at the Villawood detention camp in Sydney since 2015. – Star, 14/2/2019

Delay in abolishing death penalty is justice delayed for Altantuya’s family, says group

RASHVINJEET S. BEDI

© Provided by Star Media Group Berhad

 

PETALING JAYA: The hold-up in abolishing the mandatory death sentence is delaying justice in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, says a group campaigning against the death penalty.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said that abolishing the death penalty would enable Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two people convicted for Altantuya’s murder, to be brought back home from Australia.

“It is now good that the current Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that would abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row being commuted.

“This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen,” said Madpet founder

Charles Hector in a statement Thursday (Feb 14).

Australia takes into account whether or not the death penalty would be applied in that country in extradition cases.

Hector said the Altantuya case has also made Malaysians aware that there may be many others who ordered or paid for some other to commit murder who may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved.

“All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence,” he said.

He also called for the government to immediately table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the death penalty during in upcoming Parliamentary sitting beginning in March.

Last October, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet would abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

However, there have been protests from some quarters, including law enforcement officials and the families of some murder victims.

Earlier Thursday, Liew said the Cabinet would make the final decision on whether to bring the legislative amendments to Parliament in March.

In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri were convicted of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their death sentences in 2013, but this was reinstated by the Federal Court after the prosecution filed an appeal.

However, Sirul fled to Australia and was detained by Immigration officials in Sydney after Interpol issued a Red Notice for him.

He has been held at the Villawood detention camp in Sydney since 2015.- MSN, 15/2/2019

Delay in abolition of Death Penalty delays the bringing to justice all those involved in murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu

LETTERS/SURAT

By admin-s On Feb 14, 2019

35 Shares

 

This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.
Charles Hector, MADPET

Table Bills To Abolish Death Penalty in Parliament Session Starting 11th March

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is saddened by the delay in the abolition of the death penalty, which would also most likely delay justice in the case of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian mother of two. She was murdered and her body was blown up in a forest with explosives in 2006.

Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, who were then serving as Najib’s personal security detail at the time of the murder, were arrested and convicted for the murder by the High Court. In 2013, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions and both were released. Thereafter, the Federal Court in January 2015, allowed the appeal by the prosecution, and the murder conviction and death sentence was restored. Murder carries the mandatory death penalty.

A co-accused, former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidant of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak, was acquitted in 2008 without his defence being called to the charge of abetting Azilah and Sirul.  The prosecution did not appeal the acquittal.

Najib, at the time of the murder was the Deputy Prime Minister, and in March 2009 he became the Prime Minister until the last General Election in May 2018, that saw the defeat of the UMNO-Barisan National, and formation of a new alternative Pakatan Harapan government.

Sirul Azhar, after his release by the Court of Appeal left for Australia, and he did not turn up for the Federal Court hearing, that again sentenced him to death. Since 2015, he has been detained at the Immigration and Border Protection Department’s facility in Sydney.

In 2015, Sirul was reported saying, ‘”I was under orders. The important people with motive (to commit murder) are still free,” Sirul Azhar Umar said in a phone interview published on Wednesday by Malaysian news website Malaysiakini.’(Straits Times, 18/2/2015).

This raised serious doubts that the person/s who ordered the killing of Altantuya or paid for it may still be at large. Australia, which is an abolitionist state, would not send Sirul back to Malaysia, knowing that he may be hanged if he is send back to Malaysia.

It is now good that the current Malaysian cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that will abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row to be commuted. This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen.

In the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for the moratorium of executions pending the abolition of the death penalty, Malaysia, consistent with the new government’s declared position for the very first time voted in favour of the resolution.

The Altantuya case has also made us aware that there may be many others who have ordered or paid for some other to commit murder may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved. All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence.

In any criminal trial, it is of no use for a person who was involved in the commission of the crime to confess or plead guilty. Most will exercise their right to silence until all appeals are exhausted. These persons may also be subject to threats against themselves and their family members by them that ordered or paid them to kill. Those that admit they killed because they were paid to kill is still guilty of murder – so there is little reason to speak up and identify other accomplices who yet to be identified and/or prosecuted

When the death penalty is abolished, and better still any mandatory life prison sentence, the courts will then have the ability to impose a lower prison term for any or all who cooperated in making sure all others involved are also identified and prosecuted. This would be another mitigating factor that the courts can consider, but always ensuring that a just sentence is imposed.

The abolition of the death penalty is needed to prevent the ‘innocent’ from being wrongly killed, as there is always the risk of miscarriage of justice, which could be due to lawyers, prosecutors, police, judges, court procedures and many other factors.

It has been shown in Malaysia, that the death penalty, even if mandatory, does not deter crime.

Further, it is against religious values, even Islam, as death Malaysia is not provided for in Islamic Laws but civil laws, and the trial does not comply with Islamic evidential and procedural requirements. Note, that in Islam, even for murder, execution is a possibility as there is ‘diyat’(diya), where compensation and forgiveness from victim’s family can save a murderer from death – this highlights that repentance and/or forgiveness from victims is important, not simply punishment if you do a crime.

In Malaysia, for a long time, the lack of political will and strength on the part of government, despite the global trend towards abolition may have kept the death penalty in our law books. The fear of government to do the right and just thing simply because of a fear of a possible loss of political support is pathetic. Hopefully, this new Pakatan Harapan, unlike its predecessor, will not weaken and backtrack on its decision to abolish the death penalty.

Many expected that the relevant Bills leading to the abolition of the death penalty would have been tabled at the last Parliamentary session in 2018, and the hope now is that it will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session starting on 11 March 2019.

It is sad that some have been calling for the retention of the death penalty, which may simply be those who are unaware of the just reasons for abolition. They may simply be opposing because this was the decision of the current government, and as such be merely a political strategy rather than one based on justice or values. They may also be people who fail to also appreciate the sufferings of the children and families, simply because a parent or sibling is executed. They fail to appreciate that even the mandatory death penalty has failed to reduce murder or drug trafficking in Malaysia.

Therefore, MADPET

–          Call of Malaysia to ensure that all those, if any, who ordered or paid for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu are identified and prosecuted. The abolition of the death penalty will also make it less likely for accomplices including those who ordered or paid others to do the crime to escape justice, as the those caught and/or convicted will more likely help make this happen, if their assistance can affect/reduce sentences;

–          Calls for the Malaysian Government to immediately, preferably during this upcoming Parliamentary session beginning in March 2019, to bravely table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the Death Penalty; and

–          Calls for the Malaysian government to immediately commute the death sentences of all those on death row, which was about 1,267 in July 2018.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Malaysia Today, 14/2/2019

Malaysia:- Decision made to Abolish the Death Penalty

Malaysia has just announced that the Cabinet has decided to abolish the Death Penalty, and the Bills to give effect to this decision will be tabled in the upcoming Parliamentary session beginning 15 October 2018.

 

Media Statement – 11/10/2018

MADPET welcomes Malaysian Cabinet Decision to Abolish the Death Penalty

MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) welcomes the announcement that the Malaysian Cabinet has finally decided to abolish the death penalty, and that the needed Bill will be tabled at the next Parliamentary session, now scheduled to begin on 15/10/2018.

In the evening of 10 October 2018, the 16th World Day Against the Death Penalty, it was reported in the media thatThe Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on October 15, said Datuk Liew Vui Keong.The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister’s Department said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.“All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop….’(Malay Mail, 10/10/2018)

With regard persons currently on death row ‘…the Pardons Board will be tasked with looking into the applications of death row inmates. “Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them…’ (Malay Mail, 10/10/2018)

This will certainly be good news for the spouses, children and relatives of the about 1,267 people on death row or 2.7% of the prison population of about 60,000 people.(Star, 28/6/2018). Their parent and/or relative will no longer be hanged to death and will live.

Whilst the announcement of the cabinet decision by the Minister is most welcome, in Malaysia, one will have to wait until the needed Bills are tabled in Parliament, become law and then put into force, hopefully by the end of 2018. Malaysians have been subjected by similar promises and/or assurances by Ministers in the past government, only to be later disappointed.

As such, it is our hope that the said Bills that will effectively abolish the death penalty will be tabled at the upcoming Parliamentary session, at the very least for the First Reading, if there be no time for it to be debated and passed.

MADPET hopes that Members of Parliament and Senators from the Opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty.

MADPET await the day when we can finally celebrate the abolition of the death penalty in law, and there will be no more death row in Malaysia.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

Note:-

  • Malay Mail, 10/10/2018 – Minister: Putrajaya to abolish death penalty [https://www.malaymail.com/s/1681448/minister-putrajaya-to-abolish-death-penalty]
  • The Business Times, 10/10/2018 – Malaysia To Abolish Death Penalty [https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/malaysia-to-abolish-death-penalty]

‘Don’t block death penalty abolition’ – NGO tells opposition MPs and senators

Published: Today 11:38 am  |  Modified: Today 1:44 pm

 

The Malaysian Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) has called on the opposition and BN-controlled Dewan Negara to support Putrajaya’s plan to abolish the death penalty.

Madpet spokesperson Charles Hector said the cabinet decision to abolish the death penalty yesterday was good news for some 1,267 people facing death row.

“Madpet hopes the MPs and senators from the opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty,” he said in a statement today.

Hector added that Madpet hoped Putrajaya will follow through with its decision, pointing out that the previous BN government had also made similar indications which never materialised.

The BN-controlled Dewan Negara had previously blocked the abolition of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 after the Dewan Rakyat approved its repeal.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Gurdial Singh Nijar said the decision was “historic” and a fulfilment of Pakatan Harapan government’s manifesto.

“A death penalty is irreversible. There have been cases where the wrong people have been sentenced to death for a variety of reasons – including poor quality of defence. Thus, innocent lives are put at risk.

“Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the US in 1976, 138 innocent men and women have been released from death row, including some who came within minutes of execution. No such research has been conducted in Malaysia,” he said in a separate statement.

Gurdial acknowledged that the families of murder victims suffer a great sense of loss and are traumatised but stressed that the execution of another does not help them heal nor does it end their pain.

“Perhaps there are other ways the state can help such families, especially those of murder victims – such as the provision of funds now being used for the costly process of executions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty advisor N Surendran lauded Putrajaya’s decision as “remarkable”.

However, he added that the government should also fight for Malaysian citizens facing the death sentence abroad.

“At this moment, let us also not forget the many hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules.

“A large number of Malaysians are awaiting execution just across the causeway in Singapore, mainly for drug offences,” he said in a statement.

One such example, Surendran said, was the execution of S Prabagaran (photo) in Singapore last year.

“The BN government did nothing to save him… I, myself, as his lawyer was in communication with then deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who personally assured me that he would help save Prabagaran.

“But in the end, Zahid was no help at all. Neither he nor the BN government said or did anything serious to stop the execution.

“We call upon the government to vigorously speak up for our citizens facing death in distant shores. Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens abroad,” he said. – Malaysiakini, 11/10/2018

GAMBAR fail, Yang Dipertua Dewan Negara, Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran. – Foto Sairien Nafis

Hukuman mati: MP pembangkang, senator usah sabotaj pula

Oleh Luqman Arif Abdul Karim

cnews@nstp.com.my

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Hasrat kerajaan untuk menghapuskan pelaksanaan hukuman mati mandatori bersandarkan prinsip kemanusiaan diharap tidak disabotaj pembangkang yang ketika ini mempelopori kuasa Dewan Negara.

 

Jurucakap Malaysia Menentang Hukuman Mati dan Penyeksaan (MADPET), Charles Hector Fernandez, ketika menyuarakan pendirian itu berkata janji atau jaminan sama pernah diusulkan pentadbiran terdahulu, namun ia akhirnya mengundang kekecewaan dalam kalangan masyarakat dan aktivis apabila gagal ditepati.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, MADPET berharap ahli Parlimen dan Senator daripada blok pembangkang akan memberikan sokongan penuh terhadap keputusan yang adil oleh kerajaan ketika membentangkan usul untuk menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori.

“Oleh itu, kami harap usul menghapuskan hukuman mati mandatori ini dibentangkan pada sidang Parlimen akan datang, mulai 15 Oktober ini, sekurang-kurangnya untuk bacaan kali pertama sekiranya tiada masa mencukupi bagi perbahasan dan diluluskan,” katanya dalam kenyataan, hari ini.

Persidangan Dewan Negara, pada 12 September lalu, melakar kejutan apabila menolak Rang Undang-Undang Antiberita Tidak Benar (Pemansuhan) 2018 yang sebelum itu diluluskan di Dewan Rakyat pada 16 Ogos lalu selepas bacaan kali ketiga.

Perkara itu diumumkan Yang Dipertua Dewan Negara, Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran, selepas undi belah bahagian menyaksikan 28 anggota dewan tidak menyokong pemansuhan akta itu berbanding 21 yang menyokong, manakala tiga yang lain memilih untuk tidak mengundi.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, semalam dilaporkan berkata pelaksanaan hukuman mati mandatori bagi semua kesalahan akan dimansuhkan di negara ini.

Susulan pengumuman itu, katanya, semua pelaksanaan hukuman mati akan ditangguhkan sehingga pemansuhan berkenaan berkuat kuasa.

Mengulas lanjut, Fernandez menyifatkan pengumuman itu ialah khabar gembira untuk waris dan ahli keluarga kira-kira 1,267 banduan yang ketika ini menanti hukuman mati mandatori.

“Perangkaan yang mewakili 2.7 peratus daripada keseluruhan 60,000 banduan ini akhirnya tidak akan digantung, justeru ahli keluarga dan ibu bapanya berupaya menarik nafas lega kerana mereka masih diberikan peluang untuk meneruskan hidup. – Berita Harian, 11/10/2018

Next, save Malaysians sentenced to death abroad, Putrajaya told

Published 1 hour ago on 11 October 2018

By Zurairi AR

Surendran reminded the Pakatan Harapan government that many citizens are awaiting execution in other countries, including in Singapore, mainly for drug offences. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Civil group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) urged today the federal government to rescue Malaysians on death row abroad after announcing its plan to abolish capital punishment.

LFL adviser N. Surendran praised the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for its move to table an abolition of laws providing for the death penalty in the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, but said many citizens are awaiting execution in other countries, including just across the Causeway in Singapore, mainly for drug offences.

“At this moment, let us also not forget the many hundreds of Malaysians who are languishing on death row in foreign countries, particularly for being drug mules,” the lawyer said in a statement.

In July last year, S. Prabagaran was hanged in Singapore after he was convicted of drug trafficking, despite calls from the United Nations and others to suspend his execution.

“Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens abroad,” Surendran said, adding that this must be a priority for the Foreign Ministry and Putrajaya.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) said today that the decision to abolish the death penalty infuses Malaysia’s criminal justice system with values that “upholds life and proves its love for its citizenry — no matter how and where and when they have gone wrong”.

Hakam president Gurdial Singh Nijar pointed out that the death penalty is irreversible, putting innocent lives at risk, and abolishing it would relieve judges and the State from deciding on someone’s life.

Gurdial also said that a life sentence with opportunity of parole would provide an opportunity for rehabilitation, and the funds now used for executions can better be used to help families of victims, especially those of the crime of murder.

However, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) has warned Putrajaya against disappointing Malaysians in enacting the decision, hoping that the Bill will be tabled at least for the first reading at the next immediate session.

“Madpet hopes that MP and Senators from the Opposition parties will fully support the just move to abolish the death penalty,” said its spokesman Charles Hector.

Yesterday, de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.

It has been reported that a total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, while 35 have been executed in the last decade.- Malay Mail, 11/10/2018

See also:-

MADPET welcomes Malaysian Cabinet Decision to Abolish the Death Penalty

MADPET – PH Government need make good promise to abolish ‘Mandatory Death by Hanging in all Acts’(statement issued on 10/10/2018, before the announcement of cabinet decision to abolish death penalty)

Minister: Putrajaya to abolish death penalty

Published 10 hours ago on 10 October 2018

By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, gives a speech during the ‘Law Reform Talk’ in Universiti Malaya October 10, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Oct 10 — The Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and it will be tabled in the next Parliament sitting, which will begin on October 15, said Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister’s Department said while the government is studying certain cases, as of now, all executions have been halted.

“All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop.

“We are studying certain issues… we need to look into it and hear the views of all, but as it stands today, the decision is to abolish the death penalty,” he told the media after the “Law Reform Talk” at Universiti Malaya here, today.

Liew said that with Putrajaya intending to abolish the death penalty, the Pardons Board will be tasked with looking into the applications of death row inmates.

“Our view is that executions should not be carried out we will inform the Pardons Board to look into the various applications for all the death row inmates to either commute or release them.

“When commuted, they would have to face life imprisonment because there had been several deaths that were caused by the offender and so they were sentenced to death by the court,” he said.

Liew added that all the paperwork for the abolishment of the law is in its final stages, and that the Attorney General (AG) had given the green light for it to be tabled in Parliament.

“All the papers are in the final stage. The AG has also indicated to us that it is ready to be tabled, hopefully in this (Parliamentary) session,” he said.

Earlier in his opening speech, Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government is also mulling a repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws. – Malay Mail, 10/10/2018