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Malaysia: Government makes historic move towards abolishing death sentence

© Amnesty International

In response to the introduction of bills to abolish the mandatory death penalty, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, Amnesty International Malaysia’s Executive Director, said:

“We welcome the Government's moves to abolish the mandatory death penalty.

“These new bills go further than ever before by abolishing the death penalty for some offences, removing the life until natural death sentence and having these measures apply to those currently on death row. It is vital Parliament passes these bills.

“This is a critical step that Malaysia must take in order to improve the protection of human rights in our criminal justice system.

It is vital the moratorium on executions, which has been in place since 2018, be maintained until the death penalty is fully abolished and all death sentences are commuted.

“Any resentencing process needs to be in line with international fair trial standards and guarantee adequate time, resources - including language support, access to legal representation and right of appeal. This is especially important as many people facing death sentences are either from disadvantaged backgrounds or are foreign nationals.

New bills enter Parliament

The Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Bill 2023 and the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of The Federal Court) Bill 2023 were introduced in Parliament for their first reading today (27 March).

The death penalty is currently retained for 33 offences in Malaysia, including 11 for which it is the mandatory punishment. Despite an official moratorium on executions being in place since July 2018, courts have continued to sentence people to death.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

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