The Malaysian Bar reiterates that we wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the cabinet to totally abolish the death penalty in Malaysia, as announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong on 10 October 2018.
The cabinet decision is clearly correct and conscionable, and we eagerly await the decision to be acted upon.
We thus urge the government to table the bill to abolish the death penalty once and for all in the upcoming parliamentary session, which begins on 11 March 2019. This would be in tandem with the strides we have made to become a “new Malaysia” that now abides by the Federal Constitution and upholds the rule of law, as has repeatedly been asserted by the prime minister.
The right to life is a fundamental right that must be absolute, inalienable and universal, irrespective of the crime committed by the accused person. This is vouchsafed in Article 5(1) of the Constitution, which eschews the arbitrary deprivation of life.
The Malaysian Bar further calls upon the government to:
- stop all executions
- undertake a review of all cases of those sentenced to death prior to the abolishment of the death penalty and
- commute or recommend the commutation of each such death sentence to a sentence that is commensurate with the circumstances of each case
George Varughese is president of the Malaysian Bar.