Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nancy Shukri said March 2016, and in Oslo embarassingly no commitment when will abolish Death Penalty?

Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was given a great honour by being the first government Minister, called to share 'good news' about Malaysia's move towards the abolition of the death penalty - but alas, she was disappointing and never gave any firm commitment about when Malaysia will be abolishing the death penalty...I personally expected a praiseworthy commitment from my Minister - at least the assurance that there will be no more executions for now, and amendments SHALL be tabled at the next Parliamentary session.

Remember, that this was the same Minister that assured us that amendments to the law that will abolish death penalty will be tabled in March 2016 - Well, it is now almost end June 2016, and no such amendments have been tabled. 

In Oslo, sadly it was embarrassing that she could not even give a date when such amendments will be tabled - all she said was maybe sooner than 3 years. Malaysia also never gave any commitment that no executions will be carried out during this period..

End of Malaysia’s mandatory death sentence on the horizon - Nancy Shukri, de facto Law Minister

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said today she hopes to take her proposal to amend the Penal Code and abolish the mandatory death sentence to the Dewan Rakyat as early as March next year....Under Malaysia’s current law, the death sentence is a must for firearms, drugs, treason and murder related offences...However, Nancy said the threat of a death penalty has done little to reduce the number of such crimes committed.- Malay Mail, 17/11/2015

Remember that our current Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali, also has taken a public position that he wants the mandatory death penalty abolished...

Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali said he will propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped, so that judges are given the option to choose between sentencing a person to jail or the gallows... He said mandatory death sentences were a "paradox", as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals... "If I had my way, I would introduce the option for the judge in cases where it involves capital punishment. Give the option to the judge either to hang him or send him to prison..."Then we're working towards a good administration of criminal justice," Apandi told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview. He said that this would be in line with the "universal thinking" of capital punishment, although he denied calling for the death penalty to be abolished altogether....Not to say that I am for absolute abolition of capital punishment, but at least we go in stages. We take step by step," he said. – November 13, 2015. Malaysian Insider.
Hence, it is clear that the Attorney General's Chambers is not the hurdle for the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty - and, so, who really is procrastinating here? Is it Nancy Shukri...or maybe it is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his Cabinet? Tabling amendments to abolish the mandatory death penalty could easily be done speedily - the required amending laws could be tabled in Parliament at the upcoming sitting of the Dewan Rakyat...and I do hope, it is done then.

Now, there also is the question of abolishing the death penalty for drug trafficking where many in government have also realised, that not only is it not a DETERRENT - but that the victims are arrested and convicted are often just 'mere mules' - not the kingpins. This sentiment was also captured in the words of the Attorney General..
Apandi told The Malaysian Insider that many judges were actually reluctant to pass the death sentence on "mere mules", those assigned to carry drugs for syndicates...The judges are also hesitant to pass the death sentence on mere mules, the drug trafficker who (is) just earning RM1,000 to feed his family," he said.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016 | MYT 10:49 AM

Nancy: Malaysia one step closer to amending death penalty

KUCHING: Malaysia is one step closer to amending the mandatory death sentence, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri (pic) said.

Nancy told the World Congress Against The Death Penalty in Oslo, Norway, recently that a government-backed study on the death penalty had been completed and a paper is being readied by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“There are positive signs in Malaysia and a steady momentum towards possible change in the death penalty legislation,” Nancy said.

The study was conducted by the International Centre For Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS). The consultant was then Professor Dr Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology and Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College Oxford.

Currently, in Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for 12 offences while 20 other offences are punishable with discretionary death penalty.

Murder, drug trafficking, and offences related to security are instances of offences which are punishable with death.

However, Nancy said empirical studies showed that the death penalty had not led to “the deterring effect that such a penalty was created”.

“Although Malaysia is generally in compliance with international standards in so far as the relevant safeguards (on capital punishment) are concerned, Malaysia’s position on death penalty has always been subjected to national and international criticisms.”

The global anti-death congress was the sixth edition. Nancy expressed her “deepest appreciation to Norway” for inviting Malaysia to participate. - Star, 22/6/2016

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