Protecting the innocent

Source: The Sun Daily

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia made some milestone decisions in law this year in protecting the rights of children and ensuring innocent people are not sent to the gallows.

Parliament enacted a new law to protect children from being subjected to sexual abuses physically and online.

The Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 comprehensively covers all aspects including corroboration of evidence for child victims and setting up a special court for child sexual offences nationwide.

The law received wide support of lawmakers from both political divides, civil societies, human rights activists and the public. Read more

Malaysian Bar calls for moratorium, review of death sentences

Source: Malay Mail Online

Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Malaysian Bar President George Varughese reiterated today that the Bar’s position was that no offence should attract capital punishment. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — The Malaysian Bar urged Putrajaya today to further amend the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) to allow convicts to seek a review of their death sentences under new provisions to the law, along with a moratorium on executions.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese also expressed concern that judges may still be constrained in exercising their discretion on sentencing, despite the removal of a clause that would have made this contingent on the prosecution’s support.

The DDA was amended by Dewan Rakyat last week to remove the mandatory death penalty, handing discretion to judges when sentencing drug traffickers, but which implored the judiciary to consider mitigating factors when doing so. Read more

Hold off hangings until death penalty rule revoked, urges LFL

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called for a moratorium on capital punishments pending amendments to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Speaking to FMT, LFL executive director Eric Paulsen said he “cautiously” welcomed an announcement that the cabinet had agreed to amend the act to provide judges with discretion in sentencing.

He said the right thing to do now was to hold off all hangings until the amendments are passed. He also called for similar changes to other laws that provide for mandatory death sentences.

Yesterday, in a written reply to a parliamentary question, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the cabinet was unanimous in agreeing to amend the act and relevant ministries and agencies were preparing proposals for the amendments.

Paulsen said: “This is indeed good news but the government has said this in the past and did not carry through with it. So we cautiously welcome the announcement.” Read more

Kabinet setuju pinda hukuman mati pengedar dadah

Sumber: FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: Kabinet sebulat suara bersetuju untuk membenarkan para hakim mengenakan hukuman yang sesuai ke atas pengedar dadah dan bukan hukuman mati melalui satu pindaan kepada Seksyen 39B Akta Dadah Berbahaya 1952.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said berkata kementerian dan agensi berwajib akan menyediakan satu memorandum untuk persetujuan jemaah menteri.

Beliau berkata kajian ke atas isu itu dijalankan melalui Pusat Pengajian Hukum dan Perundangan Antarabangsa (I-CeLLS) dan dibentangkan ke jemaah menteri pada 1 Mac.

“Kabinet sebulat suara bersetuju untuk meminda Seksyen 39B Akta Dadah Berbahaya,” katanya. Read more

Decriminalising drug use offers glimmer of hope — Nursalina Fairuz Salleh

Source: New Strait Times

(file pix) A former drug addict working on a farming project at the Teduhan Kasih Melaka home in Jasin, Melaka. Decriminalising some drugs can save recourses by reducing incarcerations. Pix by Khairunisah Lokman for the NST.

THE topic of drug addiction is almost always paired with negative views, depending on one’s understanding of the depth of the problem.

The social stigma that surrounds drug addiction in Malay-
sia is no less different, perhaps even exacerbated, with the country having some of the most draconian drug laws in the world.

Despite our zero-tolerance approach, we still find ourselves grappling with drug abuse, having no success in controlling the supply and demand of illicit drugs. We are far from winning this war against drugs, and there is much to do even after decades of fighting. Read more

Lam Thye suggests moratorium on death penalty cases

Source: The Star Online

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, pic from the Star Online.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, pic from the Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: The Government should consider whether its review of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking should include making it retrospective on pending cases, said social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

Lee said the proposal for the review under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act was timely as this could help prevent a “travesty of justice”.

Judges, he said, must be given the discretion to mete out suitable sentences on a case by case basis, especially for drug mules.

“While supporting the review of Section 39B, I also hope that the Government will address the issue raised by lawmakers and legal practitioners, including whether the move, if approved, could have a retrospective effect on pending death penalty cases,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

He also called on the Government to decide whether a moratorium should be imposed on pending cases so as to ensure justice for those facing such charges.

Lee was responding to a report in The Star that lawyers and human rights groups had called for all pending executions to be put on hold while the decision by the Government to review the death penalty for drug trafficking was being deliberated. Read more

Judges may be allowed more discretion in sentencing drug traffickers

Source: The Star Online

THE Cabinet has agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in senten­cing offenders instead of imposing the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the review will enable judges to mete suitable sentences in marginal cases where offenders could be given jail sentences.

Azalina said the review was presented to the Cabinet on March 1 by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

“The Cabinet has agreed to an amendment of Section 39(B) of theDangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include the additional clause to provide discretionary powers to the courts when sentencing, apart from the mandatory death penalty, for drug trafficking. Read more