Its executive director Shamini Darshni said the announcements by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri in November, were positive and most welcome.
Apandi had said he plans to propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped while Nancy said Putrajaya plans to table a bill in March next year to abolish the mandatory death penalty in drug-related offences.
“But what is missing is that in the mean time, since the announcement was made, there is no moratorium, so people are still being sentenced to death by the courts.
“We are urging the Malaysian government to seriously impose a moratorium on the use of death penalty as well as execution,” she said, when presenting The Amnesty International Report (AIR) 2015/16 – The State of the World’s Human Rights in Petaling Jaya today.
She said Malaysia imposed death penalty for murder, drug-trafficking, the use of firearms as well as kidnapping in certain circumstances.
Last November, Nancy had said the plan to abolish the mandatory death penalty in drug-related offences would allow judges to use their discretion to choose between sentencing a person to jail and the gallows in non-criminal cases, such as drug-related offences.
Apandi in an interview with The Malaysian Insider had said he would propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped.
Meanwhile, on the report which was released today, Shamini said there were six areas of concern in Malaysia’s human rights record – freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions, police and security forces, refugees and migrants on death penalty.
“Last year, we saw how repressive and outdated legislation were being used to clamp down on basic rights.
“In the first few months of 2016, we are seeing the same pattern persist, much to the detriment of basic freedoms,” Shamini said.
Earlier, Amnesty International released a report on the State of the World’s Human Rights where it said Malaysia has “intensified” its crackdown on freedom of expression and other civil and political rights last year.
The report for 2015/2016 said this was evidence from the use of the Sedition Act to silence government critics. – February 24, 2016.