Parliament removes mandatory death penalty for drug offences, judges to get discretion

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — An amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 was passed today to remove the mandatory death penalty for drug offences and to instead give judges full discretion in sentencing.

The amendments were passed on the last day of the current Dewan Rakyat meeting via a majority voice vote after Putrajaya altered a provision in the amendment bill that was criticised by Opposition members and the Bar Council.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman tabled an alteration to the bill to give full discretion to judges in sentencing drug convicts.

The previous version of the amendment bill said that the judge could only exercise their discretion if the Public Prosecutor issued a certificate declaring that the convict had cooperated with authorities. Read more

Putrajaya not getting soft on drugs, minister says

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya’s bid to remove the mandatory death penalty for drug convictions does not mean the administration is becoming lenient towards narcotics abuse, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who tabled the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act today said the move was simply to allow the courts the discretion to decide on the maximum penalty for offences under the law.

She also noted that the proposed minimum sentence was still life imprisonment with no fewer than 15 strokes of the cane.

“All parties should view this amendment as a proactive step by the government to ensure appropriate justice for those who should not receive the mandatory death penalty,” she said in a statement. Read more

Govt tables amendment to allow judges to decide penalty for drug traffickers

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Putrajaya tabled today an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (DDA) to return discretionary powers to the court instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence on drug traffickers.

The amendment, tabled for first reading today by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, seeks to revert Section 39B as law.

The provision, introduced in an amendment to the DDA or Act 234 in 1975, had allowed a person convicted of drug trafficking to be punished with jail and whipping or death.

It was removed in 1983 so that drug traffickers could only be punished with death.

Under the new amendment to Section 39B(2) of the DDA, any person who is found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs can be be punished with either the death penalty or life in prison and whipping with a minimum of 15 strokes. Read more

SOP being finalised to handle sexual crimes against children

Source: FMT News

PUTRAJAYA: Four special guidelines to handle cases of sexual offences against children are expected to be finalised by Oct 30, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said.

She said the special Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be used was in accordance with international best practices and would meet the needs and requirements of child witnesses.

“The government’s hope is to provide protection to children in all aspects, whether in making a report, at the court and so forth,” she told reporters after opening the first working committee in the preparation of special guidelines for the handling of cases of sexual crimes against children, here today.

The special SOP is the guidelines for receiving reports and investigations on cases of sexual crimes against children; trial on cases of sexual crimes against children; on handling child witnesses/victims; and on providing protection and support to children who are victims of sexual crimes. Read more

Special court has handled 62 child sex crime cases, says Azalina

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

SIXTY-TWO cases have been filed at the special court for child sexual crimes from March till July 26, the Prime Minister’s Office today.

Minister Azalina Othman Said said 11 cases had been resolved, 25 had been mentioned, while 26 were still in trial.

She said the special court, in Putrajaya, had facilities such as court recording transcription (CRT) and audio-visual systems, as well as rooms for child witnesses.

“The infrastructure is vital in helping the proceedings in the court. It also ensures that trials and hearings proceed quickly and efficiently,” she said at the Dewan Rakyat today. Read more