Special committee set up to study security laws

Source: Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry has set up a special committee to review existing laws, especially those in relation to national security which are allegedly contrary to human rights, its Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Muhyiddin said the committee, which was set up last week, is chaired by the ministry’s Secretary-General Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.

“We will look at and review the laws that come under the Home Ministry. Among those raised are the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA).

“Our goal is to determine in implementing domestic laws the people do not feel that they are being used  for political purposes, to punish certain parties due to differences in ideology and so on,” he said. Read more

Muhyiddin: Home ministry to review seven ‘unsuitable’ national security laws

Source: The Malay Mail

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaks at the Department of Home Affairs in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — The Home Ministry will review seven laws relating to national security which are no longer suitable in today’s landscape, said the new Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said these laws were the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sedition Act 1948, Peaceful Assembly Act 2012,  Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota), and mandatory death sentence.

Muhyiddin said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), non-governmental organisations and social activists would be asked to give their views on these laws.

“These laws will be reviewed and, if necessary, replaced. It will need a bit of time, but not up to five years until the next general election,” he told reporters when asked for the time needed to complete the review.

Muhyiddin was speaking at his first press conference as the new Home Minister after attending a briefing given by heads of departments and agencies under the ministry. — Bernama

Fijian woman fails to challenge legality of death penalty

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: A Fijian woman who is facing a drug trafficking charge today failed in her bid to challenge the legality of the mandatory death sentence for the offence.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Mohtarudin Baki, dismissed Christin Nirmal’s appeal to refer the matter to the Federal Court.

Mohtaruddin did not provide grounds for refusing Christin’s appeal to refer the case to the Federal Court under Section 84 of the Courts of Judicature Act (COJA) 1964.

Christin, 30, is claiming that the 1983 amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952 that removed the judge’s discretion to either impose the capital punishment or jail term was unconstitutional.

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Malaysian Gopi Kumar is 6th victims of Minister’s Delay bringing into force law that abolishes mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking — Charles Hector

BY CHARLES HECTOR 

For and on behalf of MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) notes that despite the fact that the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017 receiving royal assent on 27/12/2017, that effectively abolishes the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking, the failure of the Minister to do the needful to bring the law into force has resulted in Malaysian judges still having no choice but to sentence convicted drug traffickers to death.

‘…”Since there is only one sentence provided for under Section 39B of the Act, the court hereby sentences all the accused to death,” he [Judge Datuk Ghazali Cha] said….’(The Sun Daily,22/1/2018). Until the new Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2017 comes into force, Judges continues to have no discretion but to sentence those convicted to death.

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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

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

An end to mandatory death penalty? — Salleh Buang

Source: The New Straits Times

BY: SALLEH BUANG

UNDER Malaysian law, capital punishment (the death penalty) is mandatory for the crime of murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and several other offences. Since 1992, at least 651 convicted persons (Malaysians) have been given the death penalty, most of them for drug trafficking.

According to the Prisons Department, some 800 people are now on death row after being convicted of drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. A minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said recently that the act will be amended to “give back” the discretionary power to the trial judge at the end of a drug trafficking case.

Welcoming this new move by the government, an executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia was quoted as saying that whilst the proposed amendment is only in respect of drug trafficking, she hopes it will become “a first step towards total abolition”.

Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew Khoo called upon the government “to repeal all mandatory death sentences”, adding that the sentence “robs judges of the opportunity to exercise their discretion” to hand down a punishment that fits the circumstances and gravity of each particular case. Read more

Amnesty’s concerns over ‘diyat’ for death row convicts

Source: FMT News

Human rights body says ‘diyat’ inconsistent with international human rights laws and is discriminatory as it puts the poor at a disadvantage. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia says it has several concerns over the Pahang Pardons Board’s plans to adopt the Islamic law of “diyat” as an alternative to granting pardons to convicts awaiting the death sentence.

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said these concerns included the “diyat” not being consistent with international human rights laws, giving a private individual the power to decide on a person’s life and the “discriminatory nature” of the “diyat”, which puts the poor at a disadvantage.

“Any alternative to hanging a human being is a welcome move. However, we need to consider the roles of the pardons board and the state in deciding whether to preserve or end human life.

“Amnesty International Malaysia believes that power to end life should never lie in the hands of the state as much as it should not lie in the hands of private individuals,” she said, adding it was the discretion of state pardons boards to offer clemency. Read more