Death Penalty in Malaysia – Time for Abolition - Charles Hector
Charles Hector MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty & Torture)firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
When Malaysia Hangs – We arepersonally responsible And we hanged – no MURDERED 441 persons since 1960 until March 2011 And, 81 percent of them did not directly take another human being’s life. (Murder – 78 or 18%) 130 were killed because we choose to charge them under the ISA, the only one that provides for mandatory death penalty – and not 2 other laws that could be used. 228 were for drug trafficking
Malaysian Death Penalty (1960 – March 2011) Executed Death Row Drug 228 [52%] 479 [69%] Trafficking Firearms 130 [29%] 13 [2%] Murder 78 [18%] 204 [29%] Others 5 [1%] TOTAL 441 696 Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s reply to Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong’s question last [i] Thursday (31/3/2011) in Parliament - Free Malaysia Today, 3/4/2011, Time to abolish death sentence.
Malaysian Death Penalty (1980 -2005) Statistical Breakdown of 234 out of 358 Executed[i] MALAYSIANS 184 Malays 48 Chinese 102 Indian 15 Others 19 FOREIGN NATIONALS 50 Thailand 7 Philippines 23 Singapore 4 Indonesia 2 Australia 1 Britain 1 Pakistan 1 Statistics from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was also Minister for Internal Security, in response to a written question submitted in parliament. – Malaysiakini, 3/2/2005, Govt reveals execution statistics: 358 hanged in 24 years
Abolition of the Death Penalty is needed to prevent the real possibility of depriving an innocent person of life“No criminal justice system is perfect. You take a man’s life and years later, you find out that another person did the crime. What can you do?” - Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Ministers Department“The law is the law but I wish Parliament would abolish the death sentence because if a mistake is made, it would be irreversible.irreversible There are other ways of dealing with heinous crimes,” - Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Former Court of Appeal judge
Factors that make wrongfulconviction a real possibility… Tunnel vision by the police and prosecutors Desire to win and not to ensure justice by prosecutors.. Judges’ prejudice – belief that police and prosecutors are right & accused are ‘guilty’ Judicial system – fulfilling quotas, denial of the full right to mount a defence – ‘irrelevance’, excluding witnesses, etc.. Lack of capacity of accused to rebut presumptions and prejudices Lawyers (many do not conduct independent investigations and only strive to rebut prosecution witnesses) ….and the list goes on…
So who wants the death penalty?You?Malaysians?The Victims or their families?Your religion?Your moral values?ORMaybe no one…or not the majority of MalaysiansBecause many really have not given much thought about it OR maybe just do not have the required information and arguments to make an informed decision
Mandatory Death Sentence murder (sec. 302, Penal Code), drug trafficking (sec. 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952), unlawful possession of firearms (sec 57 Internal Security Act), the discharging of a firearm with intent to cause death or hurt to any person, shall, notwithstanding that no hurt is caused (sec. 3 Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971) while committing the any of the following offences, being (a) Extortion, (b) Robbery, (c) preventing or resisting by any person, of his own arrest or the arrest of another by a police officer or any other person lawfully empowered to make the arrest, (d)Escaping from lawful custody, (e) Abduction or kidnapping under sections 363 to 367 of the Penal Code and section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961, or (f) House-breaking or house-trespass under sections 454 to 460 of the Penal Code … …….
Drug Trafficking (sec 39B Dangerous Drugs Act) –When the burden shifts from prosecutor to theaccusedLegal Presumptions:-37(d) any person who is found to have had in custody or under his control anything whatsoever containing any dangerous drug shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to have been in possession of such drug and shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to have known the nature of such drug; drug
Drug Trafficking (sec 39B Dangerous DrugsAct) – When the burden shifts fromprosecutor to the accused * 37(da) any person who is found in possession of -(i) 15 grammes or more in weight of heroin;…(xxv)… otherwise than in accordance with the authority of this Act or any other written law, shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be trafficking in the said drug
Drug Trafficking – 228 Hanged,479 on death rowsince 1960, 52% or 228 human beings in Malaysia who were hanged to death were for drug trafficking, and 479 or 69% of those currently in death row are there for this offence.
Unlawful Possession of Firearms– the choice to KiLL or sent toPrisonCan charge under 3 laws, i.e. section 8 Arms Act 1960 - imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or to a fine..or both section 8 of the Firearms (Increased Penalty) Act 1971 -imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years and with whipping section 57 of the Internal Security Act – mandatory death penalty Since 1960, 130 were executed for illegal processions of firearms, and 13 are on death row
Changing Perception about deathpenalty“…Malaysian lasses are an easy lot to charm. They are easily smitten by sweet words and gifts, making them an easy target for drug-trafficking syndicates looking for mules…’ (Star, 1/11/2009, Malaysian girls easily duped)1,565 Malaysians jailed abroad and 60% of the cases were drug mules… “Six in China have been sentenced to death. Since 2007, about 30 Malaysians are in death row,”. - Star, 1/11/2009, row Malaysian girls easily duped
Malaysians FOR abolition of thedeath penalty March 2006 – Malaysian Bar Resolution [ 82% of those present and voting at the said Annual General Meeting voted in favour, with 2% voting against and 16% abstaining] On 7/5/2006, an English local television program, Hello on Two, which has an estimated audience of about 80,000, conducted a phone-in poll, and the result was that 64% of persons that responded were for the abolition of the death penalty. penalty Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) is against capital punishment. “…It is our hope that we would be able to do away with this inhumane form of punishment one day. Suhakam had recommended that the Government consider placing a moratorium on capital punishment with a view to abolishing it in the future…” (5/2/2011)
Malaysians FOR abolition of thedeath penalty The Malaysian government, by its actions has shown that it is also against the death penalty – preferring that it be commuted to life imprisonment, and it has to be seen to be consistent in its stance also for Malaysia – not just in situations of Malaysians facing the death penalty in other countries ‘The Foreign Ministry sent a clemency appeal for Malaysian Ong Kim Fatt who is on death row in China for drug trafficking’, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong. (Star, 24/4/2009, Govt asks that death row man be given life sentence instead)
In the name of humanity, justiceand human dignity, and in defenceof the principle that all life is sacred,we call upon the Government ofMalaysia to abolish the deathpenalty, and declare an immediatemoratorium on the carrying out ofall death sentences pendingabolition. – MADPET (Malaysians AgainstDeath Penalty and Torture)