Updating with comments from Malaysian Bar’s Immediate Past President A.G. Kalidas.
By Bhavani Krishna Iyer
KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 – Malaysians in general including human rights activists have welcomed the government’s announcement today that it has agreed to abolish the mandatory death sentence.
For writer Adam Anand a substitute sentence will provide a chance for rehabilitation for those who have committed serious crimes.
“I fully support the abolishment of the death sentence. As a civilized nation, we should be looking to rehabilitate those who commit crimes as the death of those convicted in the end only provides a fleeting satisfaction to any victims and society at large. It would be more beneficial for those convicted to be forced to pay for their crimes in a manner that either benefits society or in some way provides a recompense to any individual victims of their crimes.”
Also supporting the removal of capital punishment, public relations practitioner Mohar Zainal Abidin said it was a move in the right direction.
“This would allow judges to weigh the circumstances and mete sentences according to severity of an offence.”
However, not everyone is looking forward to the removal of capital punishment. Auditor, M. Sankar, 72 may or may not be a lone voice expressing his concern that the prisons might “get filled with lifers with nothing to lose like in the United States.
“Already, a report says we have 1,300 of them. It is a losing argument due to so called world opinion, but where the perpetrator of a murderous crime is clearly identifiable and there is no risk of taking the wrong life, I believe the criminal is best removed from society. Prisons will have prisoners who can be source of crimes in prisons.”
Asked for his comments on the death penalty abolishment, the Immediate Past President of the Malaysian Bar Council, A.G. Kalidas said: “The death penalty violates the right to life. No sufficient proof or evidence to show that it acts as deterrent against commission of a crime.
“The Government will be moving in the right direction when it abolishes it altogether. Modern society must find other ways to reform criminals. Taking one’s life is not the answer and never will be. No one should have the right to put a person to death.”