Malaysian Bar welcomes proposal to give Judges discretion on death sentence
The Malaysian Bar welcomes the Honourable Attorney General's recent announcement that the Attorney General's Chambers ("AGC") is considering proposing an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to give Judges the discretion not to impose the death sentence on drug couriers. The AGC is reportedly also considering a proposal that those on death row be resentenced.
This is a positive first step towards realising the cross-party initiative, led by the Minister in charge of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, to end the use of the mandatory death penalty for drugs-related offences. There is great wisdom in leaving the decision on punishment for such offences to the discretion of the Judiciary.
The next step must be a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which must ultimately culminate in the abolition of the penalty, as the execution of human beings by the State serves as an "example of barbarity" to society and legitimises the taking of human life.
This goal will earn Malaysia a rightful place amongst modern and progressive democracies, as the worldwide trend has been to abolish the death penalty.
Lim Chee Wee
20 July 2012