Malaysian Parliament Moves to End Mandatory Death Penalty

    Malaysian Parliament Moves to End Mandatory Death Penalty
    Last updated Apr 03, 2023
    Image credit: aljazeera


    • Malaysia's House of Representatives on Monday approved a parliamentary bill abolishing the mandatory death penalty and lifelong imprisonment, after years of the government seeking to make such punishment optional in the country.[1]
    • Alternatives to the death penalty, which will also be repealed as an option for some serious crimes that do not cause death, include whipping and imprisonment of between 30 to 40 years under the amendments passed.[2]
    • The Parliament's upper house Dewan Negara will now take up the legislation, which is widely expected to be passed. If approved, it will be sent to the king to be signed into law.[3]
    • While a moratorium on all executions has been in effect since 2018, the death penalty is the mandatory sentence for 11 crimes in Malaysia, including murder and terrorism. In exceptional cases, judges will retain discretion to impose capital punishment.[4]
    • More than 1.3K people currently on death row, including those who have exhausted all other legal appeals, may now seek a sentencing review under the new laws.[2]
    • Once the bill comes into effect, prisoners will reportedly have 90 days to file a review of their sentences but not their convictions. Most cases are related to drug trafficking.[5]


    Narrative A

    Capital punishment causes irreversible harm and violates people's right to life. Despite being mandatory for decades, the death penalty and other capital punishments have not deterred crime effectively. It is about time Malaysia achieved this breakthrough to inspire other countries in Southeast Asia to rethink their use of the death penalty.

    Narrative B

    The death penalty is still necessary and should remain enforced in Malaysia, especially when it comes to serious crimes like murder and terrorism. Capital punishment does not just deter crimes; it also offers a sense of justice for victims. Serious crimes deserve serious punishments, and the law should reflect this.

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