Malaysia to abolish death penalty: Minister

Malaysia's government says it will abolish the death penalty and halt all executions in a rare move against capital punishment in Asia hailed by human rights groups

"Full stop", he said.

"We will inform the Pardons Board to look into various applications for convicts on the (death penalty) waiting list to either be commuted or released".

The government made a decision to scrap capital punishment because the Malaysian public had shown they were against the death penalty, communications and multimedia minister Gobind Singh Deo Gobind said.

"All death penalty will be abolished".

The shocking but most welcomed news of Malaysia joining other countries such as the Senegal, who abolished the death sentence for all crimes in December 2004, Liberia in September 2005 and its colonial master United Kingdom in 1965 was indeed apt as 10 October is World Day Against The Death Penalty.

The next parliament sitting starts on Monday.

Some 170 Member States have abolished or put a stay on executions, since the UN General Assembly's first call for a moratorium on its use in 2007.

A Malaysian court a year ago ruled the case could proceed against Indonesian national Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam after Kim Jong Nam's murder at Kuala Lumpur Airport.

"This is part of our election pledge and also in line with the move away from capital punishment in the rest of the world", he told The Associated Press.

Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam left and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia could face the death penalty of convicted of the murder of Kim Jong-Nam
SUPPLIEDDoan Thi Huong of Vietnam left and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia could face the death penalty of convicted of the murder of Kim Jong-Nam

Foreign diplomats and global human rights groups on Thursday praised Malaysia for plans to abolish the death penalty in the next legislative session.

In 2017, Malaysia carried out four executions by hanging.

A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 per cent of the 60,000-strong prison population.

Malaysian rights advocates welcomed the decision, saying there was never any proof that mandatory death sentences deterred offenders from violent or drug-related crimes.

De Lima said that as a human rights defender and legislator, she has pushed for the introduction of the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua in criminal laws to ensure restorative justice instead of punitive measures.

"We strongly welcome the announcement by the Malaysian Government of its intention to abolish the death penalty", Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt, the Swedish ambassador to Malaysia, wrote on Twitter.

Amnesty International reported in March that 799 people on death row were convicted of drug trafficking, including 416 foreign nationals.

"Our view is that executions should not be carried out".

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand have death penalty laws.

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