Sunday October 21, 2012
Death penalty may be scrapped for drug offences
By EDMUND NGO
PADANG RENGAS: The Government is looking into the possibility of withdrawing the mandatory death sentence for drug offences and replacing it with jail terms.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the Attorney-General's (A-G) Chambers would study the suitability of the move.
“One of the main reasons is because there are close to 250 Malaysians arrested as drug mules and sentenced to death abroad, including in China, Venezuela and Peru.
“It is difficult to justify our appeal to these countries not to hang them when our own country has the mandatory death sentence,” he said in a press conference in Sauk, near here yesterday.
Convicted drug traffickers in the country now face the mandatory death sentence under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Nazri, who is also the de facto Law Minister, said he would need to seek Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's view before discussing the suggestion with the A-G.
“If the Government is going ahead with the suggestion, we need to have a moratorium on death sentences from being carried out for those who are convicted in Malaysia.
“We are considering an alternative of 30 years' jails or more and allowing judges to have discretionary power under the Act,” he said.
On the issue of porn blog duo Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, Nazri said he would refer the matter to the A-G's Chambers.
“We need to look into what Malaysian laws they have broken. But also we need to remember that anything that is morally wrong does not necessarily mean that it is legally wrong.
“We definitely do not condone the act. This is what happens when there is absolute freedom of expression,” he said.