Malaysia’s Parliament Abolishes Death Penalty

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Malaysia’s lower parliament has approved legal reforms to abolish the mandatory death penalty for some capital offences, Al-Jazeera reported on Monday.

The lower chamber, known as the Dewan Rakyat, will now transmit the bill to the country’s upper chamber, called Dewan Negara, and subsequently take it to the King for signing into law.

According to Al-Jazeera’s report, under the amendments passed on Monday, by the lawmakers, alternatives to the existing death penalty include whipping and imprisonment of 30 to 40 years.

Malaysia first promised to abolish capital punishment entirely, and the country has had a moratorium on executions since 2018.

Life imprisonment sentences, defined by Malaysian law as a fixed term of 30 years, will be retained.

Capital punishment will also be removed as an option for some serious crimes that do not cause death, such as discharging and trafficking of a firearm and kidnapping, according to the new measures.

Malaysia’s Deputy Law Minister, Ramkarpal Singh, said capital punishment was irreversible and had not been an effective deterrent for crime.

The amendments passed will apply to 34 offences currently punishable by death in the country, including murder and drug trafficking.

With this development, Malaysia has now joined the league of nations, where the death penalty has been abolished, a major legal reform in the southeast country since its independence in 1957.

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