Discuss whether the death penalty in serves a relevant purpose in criminal proceedings in Malaysia.
Over the centuries, laws and public attitudes relating to torture have evolved. It is no longer permissible to use thumbscrews or the rack as legally sanctioned means of interrogation and punishment. Attitudes toward the death penalty are also changing, and as more and more countries abolish capital punishment, the guillotine, the garrotte and the noose are being relegated to museums, alongside medieval instruments of torture. As we know, the death penalty is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for a crime. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as ...view middle of the document...
Pregnant women and children may not be sentenced to death.
In Malaysia, the death penalty still exists and is still used. Indeed, people are constantly exhorting that its use should be extended, constantly saying that it is the appropriate punishment for even more crimes. You will recall statements made recently, for example, in relation to the issue of incest and rape. Why? Why are we so keen on imposing the ultimate sentence, so keen on sanctioning the killing of another person through the enactment of certain laws? Why, when the experience and evidence from states such as Illinois should encourage us to do exactly the opposite: to give very, very careful consideration to the justification and use of the death penalty, with a view to its curtailment.
These are questions which have pre-occupied countries around the world. And we can and should note that the majority of countries have actually abolished it, though there are still a substantial number who maintain its use, Malaysia among them. According to Amnesty International, 76 countries and territories have stopped using the death penalty completely. Fourteen countries have abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crime and 20 countries can be considered abolitionist in practice. This means that they retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years. In other words, 110 countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or practice and 85 other countries retain and use the death penalty.
Under Malaysian law, the death penalty is mandatory for some offences and discretionary (the judge decides) for others. The offences for which the sentence is a mandatory penalty are trafficking in dangerous drugs, under Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, discharging a firearm in the Commission of a scheduled offence, under Section 3 of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, accomplices in case of discharge of firearm, under Section 3A of the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, offences in Security Areas for possession of fire-arms, ammunition and explosives, under Section 57(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960, Offences against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s person, under Section 121A of Penal Code, and murder, under the Section 302 of Penal Code. Offences for which the death penalty is up to the judge are abduction, wrongful restraint, wrongful 1 confinement for ransom (kidnapping), under Section 3 of Kidnapping Act 1961, consorting with person carrying or having possession of arms or explosives, under Section 58(1) of Internal Security Act 1960, and waging or attempting to wage war or abetting the waging of war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri, under the Section 121 of Penal Code.
According to the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), 159 people are currently on death row pending appeal. There are also cases of prisoners being in jail for more than 10...