KUALA LUMPUR, November 28 – Fewer people in the country have been sentenced to death in the past four years, with the drop first noted from 2018.
Citing data from the offices of the Registrar of the High Court of Malaysia and the Registrar of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, The sunday star reported today that a total of 478 people have been sentenced to hanging from 2018 to date.
The newspaper reported that in 2018, a total of 172 convicts were sentenced to death and that the number rose to 118 people in 2019, rising to 112 in 2020, and only 76 people this year so far.
Malaysians made up 372 or 77.8% of the total 478 death row inmates, with the remaining 106 or 22.2% being non-citizens.
In the peninsula, drug trafficking tops the list of crimes punishable by the death penalty with 67%, followed by murder with 30%, illegal possession of firearms with 2% and kidnapping with 1%.
In Sabah, 70 percent of death sentences were for drug trafficking, followed by 30 percent murder.
The death penalty has recently been in the spotlight due to the case of Malaysian Nagaenthran K. Darmalingam, who was convicted of smuggling 42.72g of heroin into Singapore in 2009.
Following Nagaenthran’s conviction, calls for the abolition of the death penalty have rekindled, with some urging against execution through a pardon on humanitarian grounds.
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture spokesperson Charles Hector said the death penalty should not be imposed if it does not directly result in someone’s death and argued that a person convicted smuggling a lesser amount should receive a lesser penalty than those convicted of more smuggling.
“The death penalty is not in the best interests of the children of convicts either,” he said.
Amnesty International Malaysia has also expressed its opposition to the death penalty in any case as it is a violation of the right to life, further calling on the government to continue to observe the moratorium on all executions until that the death penalty be completely abolished.
“With the case of Nagaenthran, the public can see how brutal the death penalty system is.
“Despite his intellectual disability, the Singapore government insists on executing him.
“Family members who visited him recently described how his mental health has deteriorated to the point of doubting that he understands he is about to be executed.
“That is why even as we try to stop the execution of Nagaenthran in Singapore, we urge the Malaysian government to continue its efforts to completely abolish the death penalty here,” he said.
However, some Malaysians believe that the death penalty should not be abolished en bloc and maintained for certain crimes like repeated murder and bribery.
“For drug offenses, I can agree to remove the death penalty, but I still support the death penalty for murder.
“I would also agree if there was a suggestion to impose the death penalty for continuing corruption,” Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association vice-president Moeis Basri said. The sunday star.
Former Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is another supporter of capital punishment.
Unlike Moeis, the former senior police official believes the death penalty should be maintained for drug trafficking in order to keep it under control.
“With the death penalty, we will be able to prevent Malaysia from finding itself in situations like in Latin American countries, where the drug cartels are in charge,” he said.
However, he agreed that instead of making it a mandatory sentence, judges should have the discretion to offer life imprisonment.