MPs: Public prosecutor has no right interfering in sentencing

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Two opposition MPs said Putrajaya must explain why it does not want to return the discretionary powers of judges to impose the death penalty on drug traffickers.

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh and Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto asked if there was evidence to suggest that the position before the introduction of the mandatory death penalty in 1983 was a failure that required the removal of such powers.

“Has confidence in the judiciary dropped to such an extent that the courts today cannot be trusted with the sole discretion of imposing the death penalty on a convicted person,” they asked.

Their response came in a joint statement following amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that, among others, allowed the interference of the public prosecutor in the sentencing process. Read more

Judiciary should determine sentence, not prosecutor

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today hit out at the proposed bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, saying it is for the judiciary to determine the sentence, not the prosecutor.

LFL executive director Eric Paulsen acknowledged that the bill allowed for the trial judge to sentence a drug offender to life imprisonment and whipping instead of handing out the death sentence.

However, he pointed out that this was only possible if the public prosecutor issued a certificate verifying that the convict had assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia. Read more

Public prosecutor granted ‘too much power’ over life and death, says human rights group

Source: The Malaysian Insight

A HUMAN rights group is critical of an amendment to the law governing the death penalty, saying it gives too much power to the public prosecutor over the judge in determining who deserved to be sentenced to death.

Yesterday, the bill for the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017 was passed in Parliament, amending Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which pertains to the death penalty. The new law allows the judge to exercise discretion in meting out life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, which was previously mandatory for those convicted of drug trafficking.

However, a clause states that the judge may impose a sentence other than the death penalty, only if and when the “public prosecutor certifies in writing to the court, that in his determination, the person convicted has assisted an enforcement agency in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Malaysia.”

“It is wrong to give the public prosecutor the power to decide who dies and who may live,” Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) coordinator Charles Hector said in a statement today. Read more

‘Freedom of religion includes freedom to opt out of religion’

Source: FMT News

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (left), and Art Harun (right). Image drawn from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyer Azhar Harun today responded to a deputy minister who claimed atheism was in contradiction with the Federal Constitution, saying freedom of religion includes the choice to “opt out of religion”.

In a Facebook post addressed to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Azhar, popularly known as Art Harun, said just because the Federal Constitution made no mention of the freedom not to have any religion, it did not mean that atheism was unconstitutional.

“Implied within the word and concept of freedom is the exercise of choice.

“When the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, that freedom carries with it the choice to opt out of religion.

“That provision is not an imposition to profess a religion. It is merely a guarantee to all citizens professing a religion to practise their religion freely,” he said.

Yesterday, Asyraf said atheism had no place in Malaysia as it contravened both the constitution and the Rukunegara.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, he said in the Malaysian context, freedom of religion did not mean freedom from any religion. Read more

Atheism is not unconstitutional, legal minds tell deputy minister

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of religion which includes the right not to practice any religion, a retired judge and a lawyer said.

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram and lawyer K Shanmuga, however, said an exception had been made for Muslims following a Federal Court ruling in 2007 that those who wanted to convert out of that religion must get a certificate from the Shariah Court first.

Sri Ram said Article 11 guaranteed freedom of religion, which included the right not to practice any religion.

“Therefore the state cannot compel every citizen to follow some religion, and such direction is unconstitutional,” he said.

For example, a non-Muslim can refuse to follow any religion because the constitution does not sanction compulsion of religion.

“It only guarantees freedom of religion. In law, with respect, the deputy minister is wrong.” he said.

He was responding to a statement by deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki who told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that atheism had no place in Malaysia as it went against the constitution. Read more

Hak untuk tidak beragama juga dijamin perlembagaan, kata bekas hakim

Sumber: FMT News

Bekas hakim dan peguam memberikan pandangan undang-undang mereka berkenaan kenyataan Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki di Parlimen semalam. Gambar dipetik dari FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Perlembagaan Persekutuan menjamin kebebasan beragama termasuk hak untuk tidak mengamalkan apa-apa agama, kata beberapa pakar undang-undang.

Bagaimanapun, bekas hakim dan peguam yang ditemubual berkata pengecualian dibuat terhadap penganut Islam berdasarkan keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 2007 di mana mereka yang ingin menukar agama daripada Islam ke agama lain mesti mendapat kebenaran Mahkamah Syariah.

Bekas hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram berkata Perkara 11 menjamin kebebasan beragama termasuk hak untuk tidak mengamalkan apa-apa agama.

“Oleh itu, kerajaan tidak boleh memaksa setiap warganegara menganut mana-mana agama dan arahan itu bercanggah dengan perlembagaan,” katanya.

Sebagai contoh, seorang bukan Islam boleh menolak mengikut mana-mana agama kerana perlembagaan tidak membenarkan paksaan dalam beragama.

“Ia hanya menjamin kebebasan beragama.”

Beliau mengulas kenyataan Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki yang memberitahu Dewan Rakyat semalam bahawa kebebasan beragama dalam perlembagaan tidak bermakna bebas daripada mengamalkan apa-apa agama. Read more