Press Statement
Cabinet must table in parliament the Bill to abolish the death penalty before end of the session next week
4 December 2018

We refer to the position taken by the PH government that the death penalty in Malaysia must be totally abolished.

Despite the recent assurance of the Law Minister V K Liew that the death sentence will indeed be scrapped for 33 offences, no Bill to this effect has yet been tabled in Parliament.

In fact, no such Bill has even appeared yet in the parliamentary Order paper, whether in the list for first reading or in the Orders of the day.

This is a grave cause for concern as the current session of the Dewan Rakyat will end by next week.

We understand that the Bill to abolish the death penalty has been given to the Cabinet for approval.

Who, or what, is then holding it up?

In the Cabinet are many leaders who had previously publicly campaigned for human rights and the end to cruel and unfair procedures and punishments. These leaders must not forget the ideals they fought for when in the opposition or their oft-repeated commitment to uphold human rights.

It is imperative that the Cabinet approve the Bill for tabling and debate in Parliament by next week. This decision to table the Bill must be made at the Cabinet meeting to be held this week.

We hope that there will be no backtracking or compromise in the government’s decision to totally abolish the death penalty. If the government now changes position on this, it will be seen too weak, indecisive and untrustworthy. Another ‘u-turn’ will be devastating for public confidence in the new government.

Capital punishment is barbaric, irreversible and has never been proven to be a deterrent of serious crime. It has no place in the laws of any civilised country, and is now maintained only by a minority of nations in the world.

We urge the Cabinet to direct the Minister in charge to table the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat at least by 10th December, which is international human rights day. This would be a fitting present to the Malaysian people, who voted for justice, the rule of law and the upholding of human rights on 9th May 2018.

Released by:
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty