Bar: Withhold amendment bill until judicial discretion restored

Source: FMT News

Malaysian Bar vice president George Varughese. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has called on the government to withhold the passing of a bill to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 in its current form, following concerns that it will allow sentencing to be dependent on the public prosecutor.

Its president George Varughese said the bill, tabled for first reading in Parliament on Nov 23, needed to redrafted and retabled with amendments that would genuinely restore judicial discretion in sentencing.

He said the Bar viewed the tabling of the bill to move Malaysia away from the mandatory death sentence as a step in the right direction, with the provision that allowed an alternative sentence to the death penalty.

“The Malaysian Bar is steadfast in our view that life is sacred, and every person has an inherent right to life,” he said.

“However, we are concerned that the bill does not go far enough in restoring judicial discretion.

“The shift from the mandatory death penalty to judicial discretion in sentencing should not be dependent upon the say-so of the public prosecutor,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Judges to get discretionary powers over death sentence, says Apandi

Source:The Malaysian Insight

The Attorney-General’s Chambers is ready to present to Parliament the draft bill to amend the Dangerous Drug (Bill) 2017 prescribing mandatory capital punishment for drug traffickers.

Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali said the amendment would allow the judges to exercise discretion in meting out the mandatory death sentence.

He said the proposed amendments were drafted based on his experience as a judge.

“The amendments are from me and are based on my experience as a High Court and Appeals Court judge.

“Many judges find it difficult to pass the death sentence on offenders whom they feel do not deserve the punishment.

“But they have no choice because it is mandatory. Therefore, I propose that the government be more flexible and do not  discriminate against the offenders, “he told a press conference in Putrajaya today. Read more