Malaysian Government's plans to abolish death penalty could save Sydney grandmother's life

Malaysian Government's plans to abolish death penalty could save Sydney grandmother's life

Malaysia to abolish death penalty

The minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister's Department Liew Vui Keong said the issue was discussed when the Cabinet met on Wednesday morning.

The Malaysian government has chose to abolish the death penalty and a proposed Bill is expected to be tabled at the next parliament sitting, local media reported on Wednesday (Oct 10).

Malaysia's cabinet has ordered the suspension of the colonial-era Sedition Act, widely used to rein in dissent, and is working on doing the same for the death penalty as it prepares to repeal both laws possibly by the end of the year.

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"I hope the law will be amended soon", he told AFP.

Capital punishment in Malaysia is now mandatory for murder, kidnapping, possession of firearms and drug trafficking, among other crimes.

Among which are the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

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.

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The next parliament sitting starts on Monday.

The African Christian Democratic Party has promoted capital punishment as part of its policy.

Amnesty International also cheered the news, calling it "an astounding announcement".

On the World Day Against Death Penalty, opposition Senator Leila De Lima called for a renewed and sustained campaign against the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines.

The abolition of the death penalty could save the life of Sydney grandmother Maria Exposto, who was found guilty of drug trafficking by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia in May.

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

Once capital punishment is scrapped, Malaysia will have the moral authority to fight for the lives of Malaysians facing death sentences overseas, he added.

Excluding China, Amnesty says Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan - in that order - carried out 84 per cent of all executions in 2017.

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