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Malaysia to abolish colonial-era Sedition Act, death penalty

12 October 2018

On Wednesday, Liew Vui Keong, the minister in charge of law, said the cabinet had chose to repeal the death penalty.

PUTRAJAYA will table a bill to abolish the death penalty in the coming parliamentary sitting, which begins October 15, said de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.

Mr Guterres noted the lack of transparency in some countries, where the death penalty was still used, underscoring its incompatibility with human rights standards.

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

More than 1,200 people are on death row in Malaysia, which mandates hanging as punishment for a wide range of crimes including murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking and treason, among others.

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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.

"When commuted, they would have to face life imprisonment because there had been several deaths that were caused by the offender and so they were sentenced to death by the court", he said.

"All governments retaining the death penalty must immediately abolish it and put an end to the appalling conditions of detention that too many death row prisoners are forced to endure".

There are no jury trials in Malaysia for capital punishment.

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

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The ban on the death penalty affects the two women accused of murdering Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il previous year.

"There is no time to waste - the death penalty should have been consigned to the history books long ago".

Earlier in his opening speech, Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government is also mulling a repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws.

"The death penalty will be abolished, full stop".

"Having rejected the death penalty in this country, we now have the moral authority to fight for the lives of our citizens overseas", he said, referring to the hundreds of Malaysians on death row in Singapore and other countries, particularly for being drug mules.

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Only 23 countries retain the death penalty, with China believed to be the "world's top executioner", according to Amnesty International in its report last month on capital punishment in 2017.

Malaysia to abolish colonial-era Sedition Act, death penalty