Thursday, January 17, 2019

Malaysia is one of 121 nations calling for moratorium of execution pending abolition of Death Penalty.

Malaysia makes us proud, as it joins 120 other nations in voting in support of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for a moratorium of executions pending the abolition of the death penalty on 17/12/2018. In 2016, this resolution received the support of 116 nation states but in December 2018, support has increased to 121 nation states. 

Malaysian Cabinet has agreed to bring about the abolition of the death penalty, and has promised to table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of death penalty in 2019. The death penalty in Malaysia are in the normal criminal laws, not in the Malaysian Islamic/Syariah laws, and as such the convictions do not follow the requirements of Islamic evidential and criminal procedural requirement. This is one of the reason, why the objections of Muslims before, who took the position that the death penalty should be maintained as it is provided for in Islam, has changed to support abolition. 

Further, it has also been shown that death penalty is not a deterrent, as the crimes that provided for death penalty did not reduce but in fact has increased. The risk of miscarriage of justice is also another reason. 

Altantuya's case - there is a suspicion that there are others out there who may have ordered/instructed/directed or even paid for her to be killed. Arrested and convicted murderers who will be executed will simply not be 'motivated' to help bring other perpetrators to justice knowing that they will still be hanged to death. As such, the abolition of the death penalty, will also ensure better chances of others involved in murder and such crimes that carried the death penalty to be identified and also brought to justice. The convicted will most likely be willing to assist here if they will live on, or even possibly result in a lower prison terms.

Death penalty: Global abolition closer than ever as record number of countries vote to end executions

After a record number of UN member states today supported at the final vote a key UN General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Expert Chiara Sangiorgio said:

 “The fact that more countries than ever before have voted to end executions shows that global abolition of the death penalty is becoming an inevitable reality. A death penalty-free world is closer than ever.

 “This vote sends yet another important signal that more and more countries are willing to take steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment once and for all.

 “The result also shows the increasing isolation of the 35 countries that voted against the resolution. 

Those countries still retaining the death penalty should immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards full abolition.”


121 of the UN’s 193 member states voted in favour of the seventh resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty at the UNGA plenary session in New York, while 35 voted against and 32 abstained. 117 had done so in December 2016. This resolution was proposed by Brazil on behalf of an Inter-Regional Task Force of member states and co-sponsored by 83 states.

For the first time, Dominica, Libya, Malaysia and Pakistan changed their vote to support the resolution, while Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and South Sudan moved from opposition to abstention. Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Mauritius, Niger, and Rwanda once again voted in favour of the call for a moratorium on executions, having not done so in 2016.

Five countries reversed their 2016 votes, with Nauru moving from vote in favour to vote against and Bahrain and Zimbabwe switching from abstention to opposition. Congo and Guinea changed from voting in favour to abstention.

When the UN was founded in 1945 only eight of the then 51 UN member states had abolished the death penalty. Today, 103 of 193 member states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and 139 have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In 2017 executions were reported in 22 UN member states, 11% of the total. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. - Amnesty International, 17/12/2018 

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