We refer to the statement yesterday by MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong criticising the government for ‘hastiness’ in abolishing the death penalty and calling for a parliamentary select committee (PSC) to vet the proposal.
Wee’s opposition to abolition is groundless, opportunistic and smacks of sheer hypocrisy.
Did Wee or the MCA demand a PSC when the BN government rushed to pass the undemocratic Anti-Fake News Act (AFN) on the eve of GE-14? On the contrary, they kept silent and even voted for the AFN, toeing the line of their Umno bosses.
But when PH wishes to abolish the death penalty, in a move consistent with universal human rights and international standards, the MCA tries to block it by demanding a PSC!
Secondly, what is the necessity for a PSC on whether to abolish the death penalty?
There is no empirical or statistical evidence that the death penalty reduces serious crime. No number of select committees set up by the Dewan Rakyat is going to prove the deterrent effect of the death penalty.
And there is simply no other compelling ground upon which to uphold or maintain the death penalty as a punishment in Malaysia.
This sudden demand for a PSC is nothing more than a transparent attempt to stall the abolition of the death penalty.
Further, the abolition of the death penalty has long been demanded by civil society, the political opposition and international bodies. PH’s move to abolish is the culmination of a decades-long movement against the death penalty in Malaysia.
It is thus ridiculous and mischievous for Wee to claim that abolition is being ‘rushed’ to bring convicted convicted killer Sirul Umar Azhar back from Australia to testify in the Altantuya case.
Does Wee and MCA realise that human lives are at stake here? Some of those on death row may be innocent or wrongly convicted, some are mere desperate drug mules, and many of them can be rehabilitated. Is the MCA and BN’s solution just to hang them all?
We strongly urge the government not to hesitate or be deflected from carrying out the abolition of the death penalty in this parliamentary session. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, it has no place in the laws of any civilised nation.
Lawyers for Liberty