Karpal Singh has called for the Penal Code to be amended in order to provide for the death penalty for child rapists.
The DAP national chairperson said although he had prior to this campaigned for the death penalty to be abolished, the daily occurrences of crimes - rape in particular - against children means “the time has come time for the government to spring into action in the public interest, which demands introduction of measures which are bold and effective”.
“This would send a clear message to would-be offenders that the law will not tolerate anymore the rape of innocent children,” said the veteran lawyer (left) in a statement.
The public has expressed outrage over recent reports of a man who was caught allegedly trying to rape a 10-year-old girl in a school bus.Members of the public caught him after a kindergarten teacher heard the girl's screams coming from inside the vehicle.
“The anger and outrage expressed by all quarters in the country over what has transpired should find expression in amendment to section 376 of the Penal Code,” said Karpal.
Section 376 (2)(e) of the Penal Code stipulates that rape of a child under 12 is punishable by a term of imprisonment that may extend to 30 years together with whipping.
'Punishment not adequate'
“The question which arises is whether in such a case (as the recent one), the punishment provided for as the law now stands is adequate,” said Karpal.
“The amendment he proposes should provide for the death penalty in cases of the commission of rape on children,” he added.
Given the possibility of an innocent man being sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit, Karpal said the guilt of the accused must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
“The execution of the death penalty is irreversible. The horror suffered by an innocent man condemned to death at the instance of the state is beyond imagination.”
Karpal said in cases as this, however, where the suspect has been caught red-handed in the act itself supported by the evidence of credible eye witnesses, there should be no difficulty in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.
“The magnitude of the offence of rape of an innocent child in broad daylight, in the observance of eye-witnesses, must attract the need to amend the law,” he added.
“I call upon the government in coming sessions of Parliament to introduce the amendment I have suggested to section 376 of the Penal Code.
“I have no doubt, in the public interest, the opposition will support this amendment.” - Malaysiakini, 31/7/2010, Karpal proposes death penalty for child rapists
On 18 December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a second resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
RESOLUTION OF THE MALAYSIAN BAR FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY(which was adopted at the 60th AGM of the Malaysian Bar on 18/3/2006)
WHEREAS every human being has the inherent right to life;
WHEREAS Malaysia has hanged at least 358 persons between 1981 and 2005;
WHEREAS about 173 persons are on death row as at December 2005;
WHEREAS :a) studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years have failed to find convincing evidence that is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment;
b) studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;
c) in the United States over the past twenty years, in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;WHEREAS on the other hand the execution of by the State gives an ‘example of barbarity’ to society and legitimizes the taking of human life;WHEREAS Malaysia lacks safeguards that would ensure a fair trial such as the right to immediate access to a lawyer upon arrest, right to full disclosure of evidence in the possession of the police and prosecution, and has to the extreme prejudice of accused persons loaded a capital crime statute such as the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 ( which generates the largest number of death sentences annually ) with presumptions of trafficking that compromise the presumption of innocence which is integral to any fair and just criminal justice system;
WHEREAS:a) it is not possible in any system of human justice to prevent the horrifying possibility of the execution of innocent persons; and
b) the infliction of the death penalty makes irreversible;
WHEREAS :a) 122 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice as opposed to 74 countries which retain the death penalty;
b) An average of three countries have abolished the death penalty each year over the last decade;
c) the trend worldwide has been for the abolition of the death penalty;
WHEREAS the UN Resolution 2005/59 passed in 2005 calls upon all states to abolish the death penalty and states that the abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of the right to life of every human being;
WHEREAS Article 1 of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that ‘ No one within the jurisdiction of a State party to the present Optional Protocol shall be executed ’.
WHEREAS the death penalty has no place in any society which values human rights, justice and mercy;
NOW IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the Malaysian Bar calls for the:1) Abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia;2) An immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition;3) Commutation of the sentences of all persons currently on death row;4) Ratification by Malaysia of the Second Optional Protocol to the (ICCPR).
Proposers: N.Surendran , Charles Hector , Amer Hamzah Arshad, Sreekant Pillai* the facts and statistics relied on here are from Professor Roger Hood’s The ( A Worldwide Perspective) OUP 2002, and statistics released by the Government of Malaysia.
One of the reasons used often by governments, including the Malaysian government, to justify the mandatory death penalty is that deters serious crimes. This was what Datuk M. Kayveas, a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department told Parliament. (Bernama, 28/6/2006) This is baseless and cannot be justified by any facts or statistical proof.
On the other hand, there are studies conducted throughout the world over the past seventy years using various different methodological approaches that have failed to find convincing evidence that capital punishment is a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term imprisonment.
Studies conducted in Australia show that abolition of the death penalty had no effect on the homicide rate and in Canada there in fact was a sharp decline in the homicide rate after abolition;
In the United States over the past twenty years, states with the death penalty in general have had a higher homicide rate than states without the death penalty;
The United Nations itself noted in 1988, 1996, and 2002, "research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than . Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis."
Noting also that on 18 December 2007, the UN General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to United Nations General Assembly adopted with a bigger majority a second similar resolution calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty." by an overwhelming majority (Resolution 62/149), and on 18 December 2008, the
MADPET calls for the repeal of all provisions in law that provide for the mandatory death penalty.
MADPET reiterates its call for an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition, and for the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia . - MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY PROVISIONS IN LAW SHOULD BE REPEALED
It must also be pointed out that a television poll done by RTM 2 during the Hello on Two programme on
7/5/2006showed that 64% of Malaysians are for the abolition of the death penalty in . This program has an estimated audience of 80,000. It is thus important that members of Parliament, the representatives of the people respond to the aspirations of Malaysians and remove the death penalty from the laws of Malaysia . - MADPET: REMOVE DEATH PENALTY FROM ALL MALAYSIAN LAWS Malaysia