On 15 December, at the 77th session of the 54th meeting, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution for a “moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.
Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) is proud that Malaysia was one of 125 nation states that voted in favour. Singapore and Brunei, sadly, were the only Asean member states amongst the 37 countries that voted against, and there were 22 abstentions.
This is an historic moment, when a majority of two-thirds was achieved, and the number of votes in favour continues to increase. In 2020 there were 123 votes in favour to 38 against, with 24 abstentions. In 2018 it was 121 votes in favour, which also included Malaysia for the very first time.
In 2007 there were 104 in favour. In 2008 it was 106. In 2010 it was 108. In 2012 it jumped to 111, and in 2016 it was 117. As such, the global trend continues to be towards the abolition of the death penalty
On 15 December 2022, after adoption of the resolution, “the Assembly called on States to progressively restrict use of the death penalty and ensure that those facing it can exercise their right to apply for pardon or commutation… In addition, it called on States to ensure the death penalty is not applied based on discriminatory laws, improve conditions in detention and establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty…” (UN meetings coverage of General Assembly).
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Madpet is proud that Malaysia voted in favour of this resolution that unequivocally calls for all countries to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
Malaysia, under the Pakatan Harapan-plus government, voted in favour of this resolution in 2018. Perikatan Nasional (which includes Bersatu and Pas) and the Barisan Nasional-plus government elected to again vote in favour in 2020.
Now, the Pakatan Harapan-plus government under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has taken the same stance in December 2022.
Madpet notes that bills are now before Parliament that will effectively abolish the mandatory death penalty, which we call all on MPs to vote in favour. This can be considered the first step towards abolition.
Thereafter, we call on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition government, led by Pakatan Harapan, to immediately take the next step and abolish the death penalty in Malaysia speedily.
the Cabinet has decided that the death penalty for 33 offences under eight acts of law be abolished, and this includes Section 302 of the Penal Code (murder)… He said the decision, which was reached collectively, also encompassed the Firearms (Heavier Penalties) Act 1971; Firearms Act 1960, Kidnapping Act 1961, Armed Forces Act 1972. Also in the list are the Water Services Industries Act 2006; Strategic Trade Act 2010 and Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
When a country, especially a democratic nation state, executes a criminal, it inevitably makes all its citizens ‘murderers’.
A criminal reasonably must be punished for his or her crimes, but his or her life must never be extinguished. Sentencing must be fair, consistent, proportionate and with the opportunity for rehabilitation.
The abolition of the death penalty, in favour of repentance, rehabilitation and second chances is consistent with the values of the different religions and cultures of the Malaysian people.
Madpet reiterates our call for the abolition of the death penalty and for a moratorium on executions pending abolition.
Charles Hector issued this statement on behalf of Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture